Cuttack: Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli’s “biggest” fan Nikash Kanhar, a native of Odisha, was left heart-broken today as his favourite cricketer will not be playing the upcoming T-20 against Sri Lanka at Barabati Stadium here.
Kohli, who is now at the top of his game, has been rested ahead of the tour to South Africa and Rohit Sharma will lead the side in three T-20 matches beginning at Cuttack on December 20.
The news of Kohli being rested has disappointed Kanhar, who was planning to watch the match and meet his idol once again.
“It makes me feel sad as I wouldn’t be able to meet Virat sir at Cuttack this time but I will definitely go to watch the match to cheer for India,” said Kanhar who had cancelled his plan to watch the first Test match against the visitors last month as his mother passed away on November 6.
He said Virat sir has been playing without rest since 2015 and the decision of resting him will help him perform well in the upcoming crucial South Africa tour.
Hailing from Kandhamal district in Odisha, the 33-year old private bus conductor has met his idol Kohli four times, the last being at the second ODI between India and England in Cuttack last January.
Kanhar, who has played district level cricket, had mortgaged his mother’s jewellery and generated around Rs 25,000 and bought tickets for Rs 11,000 to watch Kohli live in a Test match at Mohali last November. The crazy act earned him the tag of Virat Kohli’s die-hard and biggest fan.
He mostly goes to watch matches at Visakhapatnam, Cuttack, Ranchi, Kolkata, Mohali and Chandigarh sometimes buying tickets on his own or arranging through others since the Kohli bug bit him.
The Kandhamal boy often prays and fasts when Kohli is not in good form and offers prasad at a local temple when he hits a ton. “Once I offered all of my savings, around Rs 350 to a temple, after Kohli hit a century against Pakistan at Adelaide during the 2015 World Cup,” the die-hard fan said.
Not only Kanhar, the news of Virat Kohli not coming to Cuttack has left many cricket fans in the State dejected and devastated.
“I was expecting to watch Virat Kohli play another good innings at Barabati as he has been in exceptional form and scoring hundred after hundred. But we will miss him in action this time,” said Jiten Kumar Jena, a doctor, who never misses a match in Barabati.