India Today

The legend of King Kohli

India's Cricket Captain, and arguably the country's favourite celebrity, Virat Kohli stamped his larger than life footprint across the arena of 2017. What explains his blazing form in all formats of the game and beyond?

June 11, 2017, Oval, London. India were playing a virtual knockout match against South Africa for a place in the Champions Trophy semi final. They had lost rather unexpectedly to unfancied Sri Lanka two days ago at the same venue, and this was a make or break contest. Ontop of the pressures of a high stakes match against the world's number one ODI team was all the ambient media noise about frictions between captain and coach (Anil Kumble). For Virat Kohli, the captain, it was a match of immense significance.

Riding on a sharp bowling performance, India made an easy game of it. And Virat, as he has done so often through the year, anchored the run chase, remaining unbeaten on 76 to close out the game. But despite winning at a canter, the skipper seemed unmoved, he wasn't to be swayed by the flood of praise.

June 18, 2017, Oval, London. India lost the Champions Trophy final to Pakistan and Virat Kohli scored a duck. Within moments of the match getting over, Kohli was trolled on social media and called all kinds of names by furious fans lashing out for the great letdown. The defeat had hurt him more than anyone else but having played sport at the highest level for over a decade, he was no stranger to the extreme love hate of fans. He knew well how cricketers in India are deities one day and fallen angels the next.

As it turned out, the Champions Trophy final was an aberration

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