Virat Kohli is a special brand. And this has to be accepted. His name sells and he draws crowd irrespective of the opposition. Though there were some apprehensions of a poor crowd turnout for the second Test because of a weak West Indies team at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, there was good response as the tickets were sold away like hot cakes at the Gymkhana grounds on the eve of the Friday Test.

With Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) allocating the ticket sales at Gymkhana, a huge crowd gathered since morning to lay their hands on the tickets. This continued till late evening. The crowd was unanimous in their opinion that they have purchased tickets to see Kohli in action. “He is a big thing in world cricket. He is a fearless cricketer. We like his style of play. We are aware that West Indies is a weak team. But we want to watch Kohli,’’ said Mahesh, an engineering student.

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Swetha, a middle-aged housewife, said that since the match is being played on Dasara vacation, she will be at the Uppal stadium with her children for the next five days. “The holidays have come as a big boon. My children are big fans of Kohli. He is a big attraction and they are all excited to watch him in action.’’

That Kohli has stolen the imagination of cricket fans can be gauged by sales of `Virat’ T-shirts sold by vendors at Gymkhana. “Many of them want Virat-written T-shirts. He is a superhero,’’ said a vendor, adding “I had a good sale today and I thank Kohli for that.’’

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The other reason for good sales is that the rate of the tickets has been abnormally low. “For an IPL match, we have to shell out big money but for the Test match, I need to spend Rs 100 only daily,’’ said Ismail from old city.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium is all spruced up for the five-day Test. Curator YL Chandrasekhar and his groundsmen have come in praise from Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who said it is a true cricket wicket as it has something for the bowlers and the batsmen.

It was a big occasion for local boys G Vihari and Mohammad Siraj practicing at the nets with the Indian team. Hyderabad left-arm seamer CV Milind too bowled. Siraj bowled a good spell to Kohli and even beat him with his in-swingers which earned praise from the skipper.

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For the first time, HCA officials are not involved in a Test match because of the High Court order. The Test show is managed by the High Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the officials from the BCCI. “Yes, it is strange but true. Thanks to our infighting, we have to see this,’’ said a club secretary, but with a tongue in cheek, he added that for any international match most of the ‘officials’ would make big purse but this time they might be cursing themselves.

The security has also been tight since two days. The Cyberabad Police have listed dos and dont’s for the public.#KhabarLive

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.