KOLKATA: Demand for the blue-and-orange jersey number 18 – which belongs to Virat Kohli – has surged at city markets as India, unbeaten in the cricket world cup 2023 so far, gears up to take on South Africa at Eden Gardens on Sunday. Coincidentally, Kohli’s birthday falls on that day.
“I want Kohli to score a century on Sunday and equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries,” said Aurobindo Basu, a Kohli fan spotted in Esplanade buying eight jerseys for friends who plan to visit Eden wearing them on Sunday.
According to sellers at Maidan Market, Kohli jerseys have been a top draw since the start of the cricket world cup this year. “The demand for jerseys has been very high this year and a majority of them are asking for jersey 18.I have replaced jerseys with names and numbers of other players with those of Kohli. Currently, I have around 1,500 such jerseys and I am confident of selling them all by Sunday afternoon,” said Md Shamim, who has been running a shop at Maidan Market for 20 years.
Md Hasnain Khan (21), who was helping his uncle handle the rush of customers at their shop, said, “I am trying to get a match ticket myself. The sales have been good and for the day of the match, we are getting extra hands to handle the rush.”
The average price of the jerseys at Maidan Market ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 450 depending on the quality, and can be bargained down.
Across the road at an Adidas store selling the official team India jersey, employees claim that their entire inventory of the official match jersey that costs Rs 4,999, as well as the fan jersey that costs Rs 999, are selling fast.
Even silk-screen operators have been busy with customers asking them to write the number 18 on the back of their jerseys alongside either Virat or their own names. “Even several jersey sellers are printing Kohli’s name and number on plain jerseys to meet the demand,” said Vishal Singh, a silk screen operator at Maidan Market.
(With inputs from Sukhomoy Sen)

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