The Covid restrictions did not allow a full house at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, but the 50 per cent-packed stadium managed to give former India captain Virat Kohli a rousing welcome when he walked in to bat in his 100th Test for India during the first match of the two-game series against Sri Lanka.
The ‘VK’ and ‘Virat Kohli’ chants had begun when captain Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal had started the innings for India. After the latter’s dismissal, Kohli walked in to bat and the crowd welcomed him with innovative chants.
Kohli on Friday became the 12th cricketer to feature in 100 Test for India, and 71st overall.
Earlier, a BCCI directive had disallowed fans at the stadium owing to Covid restrictions, however BCCI president Sourav Ganguly later stated that spectators will be allowed at the venue.
“Virat Kohli’s 100th test match will have no restrictions. BCCI asks the state associations to open up on the basis of govt directives. It is as per the government norms,” Ganguly told ANI.
“Punjab Cricket Association will have a crowd as per government norms in Mohali Test. I have spoken to PCA president Rajinder Gupta and there will be no restrictions,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Kohli was felicitated for his 100th Test appearance as he was handed a special Test cap by present India head coach Rahul Dravid in the presence of his teammates and wife Anushka Sharma.
“Thanks Rahul bhai, it is indeed a special moment for me. My wife is here, my brother is here in the stadium. All my family members, my coach from childhood, all are very proud. To all my teammates, thank you so much for your support over the years. It is indeed a team game and this journey couldn’t have been possible without all of you. To the BCCI to give me the opportunity to represent Indian cricket and from thereon, everything has gone from strength to strength,” Kohli said.