Mr. Vice-Captain

by Devanshu Mehta

When our teams lose, it changes who we are. It changes our self-image. Our teams are a part of our identity.

Instead of being the guy who roots for a fighting, winning team, I have become, as an India fan, a guy who roots for the team that has rarely put up a fight.

And it changes my self-image.

Sure, we shouldn’t be so shallow. We shouldn’t wear our hearts on our sleeves. We should have a thicker skin and not let the fates of young men we will never meet affect us so deeply.

We should.

But then again, there are moments like this. When Virat Kohli single-handedly rips a match apart and stitches it together again to his own design.

Moments when we again, perhaps briefly, become the guys who root for a fighting, winning team.

We may be hopeless romantics, begging for abuse. But on Monday, in Hobart, Virat Kohli made us feel better about ourselves.

Which reminds me of an article I wrote 11 months ago. About how Tendulkar pulled an ObiWan Kenobi in the World Cup Finals:

[When Tendulkar got out] even though he didn’t intend it, Tendulkar gave the rest of the team a reason to win it. They had said that they would do it for Tendulkar. Now they had to prove it. Tendulkar wasn’t going to do it for them.

By not holding their hand across the victory line, Tendulkar effectively ushered in the next generation of Indian cricket.

And that’s what was reiterated on Monday.