Few positions in India carry such prestige or equal weight as captain of the national team in cricket. Carrying the hope of a billion Indian cricket fans requires a very broad back. It is not enough for them that the captain is a great athlete and inspires a winning team, he must also show a national confidence to the world.
Some argue that the world has a habit of belittling India. That’s exactly what Virat Kohli managed to do. He is India’s most successful cricket leader ever. Under his guidance, the Indian team jumped to the top of the Test rankings. For a while he was also considered the best hitter in the world.
On the pitch, he was combative and at times irritated opponents more used to Indian teams. He’s obsessed with assembling a group of roaring fast bowlers, something the team has lacked for decades. Kohli is from Delhi, which is notoriously rough, which he thinks represents the new India. His teammates took his point. From the brash demeanor to the neat beard, many now resemble him in many ways.
Kohli’s nationalism also aligns with the country’s political sentiment. when an Indian fan told him on Twitter that he preferred watching British and Australian batsmen play, Kohli told him to “live somewhere else” . A direct rebuttal in a Hindu nationalist government manual . The player has made no secret of his admiration for Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister. When re-elected in 2019, Kohli gushed that he would lead the country to greater heights.
All of this makes him very popular. On Twitter, he has about 46 million followers, more than other athlete in the world. But this flattery is not unconditional. He still had to endure abuse online when his status declined.
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