But even defied figures have to begin somewhere. His family didn’t always have it good. His father, a criminal lawyer, succumbed to a celebral stroke when Virat was very young, depriving him of someone he calls his ‘biggest support’ both on and off the field. The son paid his tribute to Prem Kohli in a way the older man himself would have applauded: Virat Kohli returned to the field to continue an innings a few hours after he lost him. ‘He was the one who drove me to practice every day, ‘ the captain of the Indian cricket team recalls with his characteristic humility and grace.
Widely read sports journalist Vijay Lokapally goes on to record happier times on the journey of Virat’s rapid rise to international stardom, an account punctuated by little-known stories by his fellow players, coaches and intimates.
At 28, he has already been the recipient of countless accolades ? not the least of them being the Arjuna Award and the title of BCCI’s ‘International Cricketer of the Year’ for the 2011-12 and 2014-15 seasons. He was the ICC’s ‘ODI Player of the Year’ as early as in 2012. On a more commercial note, British journal SportsPro pronounced him the ‘second-most marketable athlete in the world’ just two years later.
But for the Run Machine, it’s not about the money or fame or the roar of the crowds or that women of all ages vie for the wide-eyed attention of his extraordinary gaze. Few incidences have been reported of his open hearted altruism, his numerous charities for under-privileged children and his sheer pluck when the odds are against him.
But what has not escaped the public eye is how this wizard of the willow and wicket wears his heavy mantle with such insouciant ease.
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