Cricket is one of the most loved and highly followed sports in India by people across all ages. For this reason, cricketers playing for the national team enjoys a huge fan following in the country. However, there are special ones among them who goes on to become an icon not only at the national level but also at the international stage thereby becoming a global sensation. The best thing is that some of these special icons always manages to bag the same level of great admiration in whichever corner they go around the world and they catch the same ray of limelight at any time of year due to which they can be touted as a legend or timeless piece of great talent. One of these cricketing legend is the former captain of the India national cricket team Virat Kohli. Although Virat Kohli is a great cricketer with a huge series of magnificent achievements in his belt, there are some special qualities in him which makes him exceptional from the rest of the Indian cricket team.
Kohli met with backlash from some sections of people when he decided to take a paternity leave and fly back to Mumbai halfway during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy match series that was being held in Australia in December 2020. Although he was the Test captain during that time and had decided to hand over his duties to then vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, he stayed firm in his decision of taking a break from one of the most important moments of his cricketing career simply to support his wife Anushka Sharma who was in the last trimester of her pregnancy and also to welcome his first child happily in the world. He had also boldly said in his conversations that he was already absolutely clear when he would be taking a paternity leave and had done so to enjoy and treasure the beautiful moment in his and Anushka’s lives. “It’s a decision that was absolutely clear in my mind. As committed as you are to play for your country this is a very, very special moment in life that you want to be there for at any cost. It’s a blessed time and we’re very excited,” Kohli said during an informal chat with Steve Smith on the eve of the Border-Gavaskar Test series opener in 2020. On January 11, 2021, Kohli and Anushka welcomed a baby girl in their lives whom they had named Vamika. However, there weren’t only unhappy and opposing views of Kohli’s decision of taking a paternity leave. A section of his well-wishers and fans applauded him heartily for normalizing the concept of fathers taking a break from work in order to support the mothers and spending time in looking after the newborn child.
With women becoming independent and leaders in their professional fields, the concept of ‘men being the sole breadwinner’ of a family has changed and it is now viewed as an outdated thought which only gives rise to gender inequality. When an organization allows a father to take some days off for the birth of his child or give him the chance of doing work-from-home, he would get a chance to bring up his child along with his better half and would literally make a beautiful family together. Moreover, it is the mother who had to go through severe bouts of sickness and moodiness along with the high labour pain during her pregnancy phase which takes a toll on her health severely. After the child is born, the upbringing duty of a baby, which is generally considered to be a mother’s work, can be shared along with the father so that she can get some much needed rest which is so essential for her health. Another good thing is that paternity leave will give a chance to fathers to spend time and bond nicely with their child during his / her initial days which is quite rare. Today, a number of baby diaper advertisements shows the importance of baby raising duties by both fathers and mothers which is bringing forth the new concept that a father can equally partake the roles of a mother and there should not be any discrimination on the basis of gender for parenting duties.
Virat Kohli, who had stepped down as Test captain of the Indian cricket team on January 15, 2022, was felicitated for playing his 100th Test match almost two months later. On the day of his 100th Test appearance, he posted a heart-warming message of gratitude to his fans for their support throughout his cricketing career. “Been a long journey to get here. Full of ups and downs and learnings. Would not have had it any other way. Thank you for all your support,” he wrote.
From being the first Indian cricketer to score 10,000 T20 runs and surpassing the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar along with Virendra Sehwag to smash most double centuries by an Indian in test cricket in 2019 to being a caring husband and dutiful father, Virat Kohli is indeed an exceptional cricketer from the rest of the Indian cricket team who has rightfully gained a large fan following along with riches by dint of his hard work.