04 October 2019
Berhampur: When Captain Virat Kohli arrived for a press conference on the eve of the Test series against India against South Africa in Vizag, a surprise was waiting for him. A die-hard fan who has painted not one or two, but 15 tatoos of the cricketer on his body was at the conference to catch a glimpse of the Indian skipper.
Kohli not only obliged him with a meeting but also hugged Pintu Behera, a 31-year-old daily wager belonging to a small village on the outskirts of Berhampur. It took him several years to meet the cricketer whom he addresses as ‘God’.
Pintu sought Kohli’s permission to take his shirt off and that was it. Kohli and others at the venue were taken aback to witness the obsession of this man. There were 15 tatoos inked on Pintu’s body all dedicated to Kohli.
“He is no less than a god for me, and this is my way of showing respect to him,” said the soft spoken 31-year-old. He spent nearly a lakh to get the 15 tattoos inked. Pintu says he had become a die-hard fan of Kohli after watching him decimate Lasith Malinga, considered to be ODI cricket’s most-feared bowler then.
“That was when I decided that I will do this. But back then, I didn’t have the money. So I started saving and got the tattoos done one by one,” he said.
The die-hard Kohli fan had been relentlessly following his cricketing god in almost every match he played within India since 2016. All in the hope of getting to meet him one day.
Pintu’s ultimate dream is to see his cricket god hold the 2023 World Cup and get it inked as his next tattoo. He had the first tattoo, Kohli’s face, painted on his chest to the right. This was made during the World Cup.
Other tattoos include Virat's jersey number, Kohli honouring Sachin after scoring a half-century against Pakistan, his trainer Rajkumar Sharma, showering a kiss on Anushka Sharma. Apart from this, Kohli's Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna are also seen on Pintu's body.