GAME PLAN: Sushil and Virat: Stars shooting in opposite directions

Jaideep Ghosh

File photo of Indian Wrestler Sushil Kumar. Photo: PTI

File photo of Indian Wrestler Sushil Kumar.
Photo: PTI

There’s a little joke (not a very funny one though) going around. It goes along the lines that, now that Sarbananda Sonowal will be shifting to Assam, maybe Sushil Kumar can try for the Sports Minister post.

That way, both he and Narsingh Yadav can go to Rio de Janeiro without stomping on one another’s egos or prospects.

But these lame jokes have begun to lose whatever little appeal they had. It is, frankly, a shame to see a man of Sushil’s stature coming down to such levels for a slot that isn’t his to start with.

The history of who won the quota, and how he is more eligible, have all gone on long enough for us not having to repeat it all.

The new stuff is that, after his demand for a trial was declined by the Wrestling federation of India (WFI), Sushil approached the Hon. High Court to seek justice.

All the High Court did was to direct WFI to talk to Sushil. The sum total, as of now, is that Yadav is still their choice and Sushil is running out of any he had.

Sad to see him running around courts in the hot summer sun. All he achieved was some selfies with lawyers and a dent on his reputation.

New Delhi: Wrestler Sushil Kumar’s coach and father-in-law Satpal Singh coming out of the Delhi High Court in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The wrestler approached the court seeking a trial against Narsingh regarding the representation of the country at the Rio Olympics. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Wrestler Sushil Kumar’s coach and father-in-law Satpal Singh coming out of the Delhi High Court in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The wrestler approached the court seeking a trial against Narsingh regarding the representation of the country at the Rio Olympics.
Photo: PTI

Sushil is a simple man, who, one feels, is acting on whatever advice is coming his way from his so-called well-wishers.

One of them is his coach, and incidentally also his father-in-law, Satpal. He has obviously been touting a trial fight-off between the two.

His reasoning is “if Yadav can’t beat Sushil in a trial, what chances does he have at the Olympics?”

At the same time, Satpal is “impressed” with Yadav and the way he has fared. But evidently not enough to go to Rio.

Satpal also has a lot of “would have” and “what if” logic.

He claims that if Sushil had gone for the World Championships, he may have won a quota place.

He also asks if Yadav goes to Rio without trials, and fails to win a medal, wouldn’t there be questions about why there were no trials.

Fair point. So does Satpal know for sure if Sushil was given the nod, he’d definitely come back with a medal? If not, wouldn’t the same “what if” apply there too?

It is a little unfortunate that those who are supposedly working for the betterment of Indian wrestling are essentially working for the promotion of their selves and wards.

But that is how things are most of the times in Indian sports.

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore's Virat Kohli celebrates his century during an IPL 2016 match against Kings XI Punjab at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli celebrates his century during an IPL 2016 match against Kings XI Punjab at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.
Photo: PTI

Virat indeed: One of the WFI officials was quite tickled that wrestling and the federation were getting so much mileage, especially when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was on.

Standard sarcasm, when it comes to the age-old ‘cricket versus others’ scenario.

Fact of the matter is that the IPL was beginning to lose momentum, once the Maharashtra drought-related feud was decided.

But one man has managed to drag it out of the mires of indifference with a performance that comes maybe once in a century.

Virat Kohli’s performance of a near-100 average in T20 cricket in 2016 verges on the unreal.

Kohli, in this year, has scored 1490 runs at an average of 99.33 (when this article was written), with four hundreds and 12 half-centuries.

All four of the hundreds have come in the IPL, at a rate that is nearly blinding. These include an insane 113 off 50 balls with the aid of 12 boundaries and eight sixes against Kings XI Punjab at the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s home turf.

And this was in a rain-truncated 15-over inning!

In the recent past, Kohli had seen his side score many 170 and 180-plus scores and then lose all the matches defending that kind of total.

So he, as captain, realised that they’d have to put up scores that were unattainable, irrespective of how badly they bowled.

He took up the mantle of leading that charge, with significant contributions from AB de Villiers and now from the resurgent Chris Gayle. Sao 200-plus scores have become more of a habit, and suddenly, RCB are the team to beat.

Goes on to show what a vein of form he has hit. Incredible is the word mostly used, but that barely covers it. This is closer to impossible.

FILE | Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore Skipper Virat Kohli takes selfie with fans after a training session ahead of the IPL T20 match against Delhi Daredevils at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Photo: PTI

FILE | Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore Skipper Virat Kohli takes selfie with fans after a training session ahead of the IPL T20 match against Delhi Daredevils at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Photo: PTI

Kohli has always been very expressive on the field, but off late, he has begun to mellow down as a person, and wants to be a self-professed “monk in the real world”.

Seems to be working. The Shaolin-type peace with oneself, combined with explosive power when needed, has taken his side from near the bottom of the heap to being one of the contenders for not just a slot in the next round, but also maybe the title.

Quite a treat, watching him bat. Hopefully for a long time.