Pankaj Advani

Pankaj Arjan Advani (born 24 July 1985) is an Indian billiards and snooker player. He is a 23 time world champion. He has won the IBSF World Billiards Championship 15 – times, the World Team Billiards Championship 1 – time, the IBSF World Snooker Championship (15 Reds) 3 – times, (6 Reds) 2 – times, the IBSF World Team Cup 1 – time and the IBSF World Team Championship – 1 time.

Pankaj Advani is the only cueist to have won the Asian and World Championships in all formats of Billiards and Snooker. He has the maximum IBSF world championships in billiards and snooker.

He became a snooker professional in 2012, and his first season on the main tour was the 2012/2013 season. Advani won the 2014 IBSF World 6-Red Snooker Championship, on his debut in that discipline. Advani is also India’s first world champion in 6-red snooker.

In recognition of his achievements, the Government of India has bestowed several awards upon Advani: the Arjuna Award in 2004, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2006, Padma Shri in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2018.

Early life

Pankaj Advani was born on 24 July 1985 to a Sindhi family in Pune, India. Advani spent his initial years in Kuwait before moving to Bangalore, India. He received his education at the Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore and completed his bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College. He received training in snooker from former national Snooker champion Arvind Savur.

At the age of 10 his acumen for snooker came to the notice of Arvind Savur after being introduced to the sport by his elder brother Dr. Shree Advani, a noted Sport & Performance Psychologist. He won his first ever title at the age of 11 and went on to set several records at the state and national levels. In the year 2000 he won his first Indian Junior Billiards Championship title and then went on to win it again in 2001 and 2003. In 2003 he not only won the Indian Junior Snooker and Billiards Championship, he also won the senior snooker champions which made him the youngest National Snooker champion at age 17.

Titles

World Titles – 23

Billiards

IBSF World Billiards Championship (Point Format) – 7 (2005, 2008, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

IBSF World Billiards Championship (Long Format) – 8 (2005,2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018)

World Team Billiards Championship – 1 (2014)

Snooker

IBSF World Snooker Championship (15 Reds) – 3 (2003, 2015, 2017)

IBSF World Snooker Championship (6 Reds) – 2 (2014, 2015)

IBSF World Team Cup – 1 (2018)

IBSF World Team Championship – 1 (2019)

Asian Games

2006 Asian Games, Doha – Gold Medal (English Billiards – Singles)

2010 Asian Games, Guangzhou – Gold Medal (English Billiards – Singles)

Asian Titles – 10

Billiards – 7 (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017, 2018)

Snooker – 3

Asian Snooker Title (6 Reds) – 2016

Asian Snooker Title (15 Reds) – 2019

Asian Team Snooker Title (2017)

National Championships – 34

Junior National Billiards – 7

Junior National Snooker – 4

Senior National Billiards – 10

Senior National Snooker (15 Reds) – 9

Senior National Snooker (6 Reds) – 4                            

Awards and honours

  • Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, 2018
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour, 2005–06
  • Rajyotsava Prashasti, Karnataka’s second highest civilian honour, 2007.s
  • Karnataka’s “Kempegowda Award“, 2007.
  • Ekalavya Award, Karnataka’s highest sporting honour, 2007
  • Vision of India’s “International Indian” Award, 2005.
  • Senior Sportsperson of the Year, 2005
  • The Sports Writers’ Association of Bangalore Award, 2005
  • The Bangalore University Sportsperson of the Year, 2005
  • The Hero India Sports Award, 2004
  • The Rajeev Gandhi Award, 2004
  • The Arjuna Award, 2004
  • The Indo-American Young Achiever’s Award, 2003
  • The Sports Star Sportsperson of the Year, 2003

 

Mithali Raj

Mithali Dorai Raj (born 3 December 1982) is an Indian cricketer and Test, ODI Captain of women’s national cricket team She is a right-handed opening Batswoman and occasional right-arm leg break bowler.

She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in Women’s One Day International matches. she is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. Raj also holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs. In June 2018 during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2002 WT20I runs.

In 2005, she became the captain of the side. Raj is the only player (female) to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017. On 1 February 2019, during India’s series against New Zealand Women, Raj became the first woman to play in 200 ODI matches. In September 2019, she announced her retirement from T20Is to focus on ODI cricket. In 2019, she became the first woman to complete 20 years in international cricket.

She is the recipient of several national and international awards, including the Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World in 2017, Arjuna Award in 2003, and the Padma Shri in 2015, both by the Government of India.

Early life

Mithali Raj was born on 3 December 1982 in a Tamil family in JodhpurRajasthan. Her father is Dorai Raj, who was an Airman (Warrant Officer) in the Indian Air Force, and mother is Leela Raj. Raj started to play the game at age of 10. She lives in HyderabadTelangana. She attended Keyes High School for Girls in Hyderabad. She attended Kasturba Gandhi Junior College for Women in Secunderabad for her intermediate studies. She started cricket coaching in her school days along with her elder brother.

Youth and domestic career

Playing for Railways in the domestic competition, Raj began by playing with stars like Purnima RauAnjum Chopra and Anju Jain for Air India.

International career

Mithali has played all three cricket formats for India, Test One Day and T20.  She was named among the probables in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup when she was just 14, but couldn’t make it to the final squad. She made her One Day International debut in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes and scored unbeaten 114 runs. She made her Test debut in the 2001–02 season against South Africa at Lucknow. On 17 August 2002, at the age of 19, in her third Test, she broke Karen Rolton‘s record of world’s highest individual Test score of 209*, scoring a new high of 214 against England in the second and final Test at County Ground, Taunton. The record has since been surpassed by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan who scored 242 against West Indies in March 2004.

Raj was ill with a strain of typhoid during the CricInfo Women’s World Cup in 2002, seriously hampering India’s progress. However, she then led them to their first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa, where they met Australia who proved too strong.

In August 2006, she led the side to their first ever Test and Series victory in England and wrapped up the year winning the Asia Cup – the second time in 12 months – without dropping a single game.

She led the Indian team to the finals in the 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup where the team lost to Australia. She is a part-time leg-break bowler as well. She is a recipient of the Arjuna award for the year 2003. She currently tops the batting table with 703 ratings. Her composure when at the crease and ability to score briskly make her a dangerous cricketer. In addition to her ability with the bat, Raj rolls her arm over bowling leg-spinners and providing variety to the attack.

At the 2013 Women’s World Cup, Raj was the No.1 Cricketer in the ODI chart among women. She scored 100s: 1 and 50s: 4 in Test cricket, 100s: 5 and 50s: 50 with best bowling of 3/4 in ODIs and 50s: 10 in T20s.

In February 2017, she became the second player to score 5,500 runs in WODIs. Raj is the first player to captain most matches for India in ODI and T20I.

In July 2017, she became the first player to score 6,000 runs in WODIs. She led the Indian team to the final of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup where the team lost to England by nine runs.

In December 2017, she was named as one of the players in the ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year.

In October 2018, she was named in India’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies.

In September 2019, Raj has retired from T20I Cricket. She dreams to bring the World Cup to her country by 2021. “After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 one-day World Cup,” she said in a BCCI press statement.

In November 2020, Raj was nominated for the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade, and the award for women’s ODI cricketer of the decade.

Coaching career

Raj was appointed as a batting consultant for India women’s national cricket team, and had played as a player-coach.

Records

 

  • Mithali held the record for the highest individual score by an Indian Woman Cricketer in a World Cupmatch (91 not out off 104 deliveries which included 9 fours) against New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup 2005Harmanpreet Kaur overtook Raj by scoring a century (107 from 109 balls) in the second match of ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 against England.
  • Mithali is nicknamed “Lady Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket”, as she is currently the all-time leading run-scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
  • During the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Raj scored her seventh consecutive half-century and made a record for most consecutive fifties by a player.
  • Mithali is the 1st Indian and 5th woman cricketer overall to score over 1,000 World Cup runs.
  • She holds the record for playing the most consecutive Women’s One Day Internationalsfor a team

 

Awards

Year Award Notes
2003 Arjuna Award[51]
2015 Padma Shri India’s fourth highest civilian award
2017 Youth Sports Icon of Excellence Award At the Radiant Wellness Conclave, Chennai
2017 Vogue Sportsperson of the Year At Vogue‘s 10th anniversary
2017 BBC 100 Women
2017 Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World

 

Mahesh Bhupathi

Mahesh Shrinivas Bhupathi (born 7 June 1974) is a retired Indian professional tennis player. In 1997, he became the first Indian to win a Grand Slam tournament (with Rika Hiraki). With his win at the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2006, he joined the elite group of eight tennis players who have achieved a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles. He is also the founder of International Premier Tennis League. In December 2016, Bhupathi was appointed as India’s next non-playing Davis Cup captain and took over the reins from Anand Amritraj in February 2017.

Davis Cup and Asian Games

Bhupathi has donned Indian colours numerous times for the Davis Cup as well as other international tournaments, including the Asian Games.

Bhupathi has played 55 matches for India in the Davis Cup (from 1995 to 2011), winning 35 and losing 20. Out of the 35 matches that he won, 27 of his victories came in doubles matches.

In 2006, Bhupathi won the doubles championship with Leander Paes at the Asian Games in Doha.

Personal life

In 2001, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards. Bhupathi is an alumnus of the University of Mississippi in the United States. He is the founder of Globosport India private Limited which he started in 2002 as a sports and entertainment agency.

He married model Shvetha Jaishankar in 2002 but the couple got divorced in 2009 after seven years of marriage. He then married Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta in a civil ceremony on 16 February 2011 at BandraMumbai.[18] It was followed by a Christian ceremony on 20 February 2011 at Sunset Point in Goa.

On 1 August 2011, Dutta confirmed that she was pregnant with their first child. Their daughter Saira was born on 20 January 2012. In 2010, the couple started a film production company, Big Daddy Productions.

In 2014, Mahesh Bhupathi launched an authentic Indian sports brand, ZEVEN. The company currently endorses Ravindra JadejaRohan BopannaShikhar Dhawan and Mary Kom, amongst others.

Sports management and sports-based e-commerce

Bhupathi has also been involved in developing tennis facilities in India and, along with his company Globosport, has played a key rôle in developing and managing the careers of many Indian athletes, including Sania Mirza.

International Premier Tennis League

Mahesh Bhupathi announced the founding of the International Premier Tennis League on 25 May 2013, in Paris. The initial plan was to start the league with six charter franchises in Asia with the inaugural season commencing in November 2014. Bhupathi said the league would be modeled after the Indian Premier League, a cricket league in India. Justin Gimelstob said that the league would be star-driven as World Team Tennis was in the 1970s.

Awards

  • Padma Shri, 2001
  • Sports people for Change Karmaveer Puraskaar, 2007, iCONGO-Confederation of NGOs
  • Davis CupCommitment Award

Prakash Padukone

Prakash Padukone (born 10 June 1955) is a former Indian badminton player. He was ranked World No. 1 in 1980; the same year he became the first Indian to win the All England Open Badminton Championships. He was awarded the Arjuna award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982 by the Government of India. He is one of the co-founders of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation dedicated to the promotion of Olympic sports in India.

Background and early life

Padukone was born on 10 June 1955 in Bangalore City in Karnataka. His father, Ramesh, was a secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association.

Padukone married Ujjala, as arranged by their parents in the Indian Hindu system. He has two daughters, Deepika and Anisha.

Career

Prakash was initiated into the game by his father Ramesh Padukone, who was the Secretary of the “Mysore Badminton Association” for many years.

Padukone’s first official tournament was the Karnataka state junior championship in 1962. Though he lost in the very first round, two years later he managed to win the state junior title. He changed his playing style into a more aggressive style in 1971, and won the Indian national junior title in 1972. He also won the senior title the same year. He won the National title consecutively for the next seven years. In 1978, he won his first major international title, the men’s singles gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.[9] In 1979, he won the “Evening of Champions” at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

In 1980, he won the Danish Open, the Swedish Open and became the first Indian to win the men’s singles title at the All England Championship with a victory over Indonesian rival Liem Swie King. He spent much of his international career training in Denmark, and developed close friendships with European players such as Morten Frost.

After his retirement from competitive sports in 1991, Padukone served as the chairman of the Badminton Association of India for a short while. He also served as the coach of the Indian national badminton team from 1993 to 1996. He co-founded Olympic Gold Quest with Geet Sethi, a foundation dedicated to the promotion of Olympic sports in India.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess grandmaster and former world chess champion. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988, and is one of the few players to have surpassed an Elo rating of 2800, a feat he first achieved in 2006.

Anand is a five-time world chess champion.He defeated Alexei Shirov in a six-game match to win the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship, a title he held until 2002. He became the undisputed world champion in 2007, and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012. In 2013, he lost the title to challenger Magnus Carlsen, and lost a rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament.

In April 2006, Anand became the fourth player in history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list, after Kramnik, Topalov, and Garry Kasparov. He occupied the number one position for 21 months, the sixth-longest period on record.

Known for his rapid playing speed as a child, Anand earned the sobriquet “Lightning Kid” during his early career in the 1980s. He has since developed into a universal player, and many consider him the greatest rapid chess player of his generation. He won the FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship in 2003 and 2017, the World Blitz Cup in 2000, and numerous other top-level rapid and blitz events.

Anand was the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award.

 

Early life

Viswanathan Anand was born on 11 December 1969 in ChennaiTamil Nadu, India, where he grew up. His father, Krishnamurthy Viswanathan, a retired general manager of Southern Railways, had studied in Jamalpur, Bihar, and his mother, Sushila, was a housewife, chess aficionado and an influential socialite.

Anand is the youngest of three children. He is 11 years younger than his sister and 13 years younger than his brother. His brother, Shivakumar, is a manager at Crompton Greaves in India. His sister, Anuradha, is a professor at the University of Michigan.

Anand started learning chess from age six from his mother, but learned the intricacies of the game in Manila where he lived with his parents from 1978 through the ’80s while his father was contracted as a consultant by the Philippine National Railways.

Anand was educated at Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary SchoolEgmoreChennai, and has a Bachelor of Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.

Personal life

Anand married Aruna in 1996 and has a son, born on 9 April 2011, named in the traditional patronymic way Anand Akhil.

In August 2010, Anand joined the board of directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. On 24 December 2010, he was the guest of honour on the grounds of Gujarat University, where 20,486 players created a new world record of simultaneous chess play at a single venue.

His hobbies are reading, swimming, and listening to music.

Anand has been regarded as an unassuming person with a reputation for refraining from political and psychological ploys and instead focusing on his game. This has made him a well-liked figure throughout the chess world for two decades, evidenced by the fact that Kasparov, Kramnik, and Carlsen, all of whom were rivals for the world championship during Anand’s career, each aided him in his preparations for the 2010 World Chess Championship. Anand is sometimes known as the “Tiger of Madras”.

Anand was the only sportsperson invited to the dinner Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted for US President Barack Obama on 7 November 2010.

Anand was denied an honorary doctorate from University of Hyderabad because of confusion over his citizenship status; India’s Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal later apologised and said, “There is no issue on the matter as Anand has agreed to accept the degree at a convenient time depending on his availability”. According to The Hindu, Anand finally declined to accept the doctorate.

Awards

The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting the Padma Vibhushan to Shri Viswanathan Anand, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in 2008

Anand has received many national and international awards.

Indian national honours

Other honours

  • National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987
  • British Chess Federation“Book of the Year” Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess.
  • Anand has won the Chess Oscarin 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
  • Sportstar Best Sportsperson of the Year for 1995
  • Sportstar Millennium Award in 1998, from India’s premier sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium.
  • “Global Strategist Award” for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOMin 2011.
  • Tamil Nadu chief minister  Jayalalithaahonoured Anand with a cheque of Rs 2 crores, for winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time.
  • In 2012, he received the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards.
  • In 2014 Anand was awarded the Russian Order of Friendshipfor the development of economic, scientific and cultural ties with Russia. The Order of Friendship was awarded to Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand, the participants in the FIDE World Chess Championship Match that was held at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in 2012.
  • In 2015 Anand was honoured with the top country award at the Spanish embassy, Delhion 8 January. It is given to the eminent people of Indian origin who helped to bring glory to both India and Spain.
  • 4538 Vishyanand (provisional designation 1988 TP) is a main-belt minor planet. It was discovered by Kenzo Suzukiin Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, on 10 October 1988 and was named after Vishy on 1 April 2015.

 

Bibliography

Viswanathan Anand (1998). My Best Games of Chess. Gambit Chess. ISBN 978-1901983548

Viswanathan Anand and Devangshu Datta (2007). My Life in Chess. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1857444056

Viswanathan Anand and Ninan, Susan (2019). Mind Master:Winning Lessons from a Champion’s Life. Hachette India. ISBN 978-9351951506

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra. an Indian businessman and retired sport shooter. He is currently India’s only individual Olympic gold medalist. His gold in the 10-meter air rifle event at the 2008 Summer Olympics was also India’s first Olympic gold medal since 1980. He is the first Indian to have held concurrently the world and Olympic titles for the men’s 10-meter air rifle event, having earned those honors at the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Bindra has also won nine medals at the Commonwealth Games and three gold medals at the Asian Games.

With more than 150 medals in his 22-year career, he is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India and is one of the top influencers of sport policy in the country.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Bindra finished fourth in the finals of the 10-meter air rifle event. He also served as a goodwill ambassador for the Rio 2016 Olympics Indian contingent, having been appointed to that post by the Indian Olympics Association (IOA). On September 5, 2016, he announced his retirement.

Bindra’s primary outreach to Indian sports is through the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to integrate sports, science, and technology into Indian sports and encourage high-performance physical training.

In 2018, Bindra was bestowed with the prestigious Blue Cross, the ISSF‘s highest honor.

Bindra is also currently a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

 

Early years

Abhinav Bindra was born in Dehradun (Uttarakhand)to a Punjabi family and picked up shooting at an early age. Determined to train with the best possible facilities, which were then not available in India, he would train for prolonged periods in Germany.

Business career

Bindra has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. Bindra is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics Private Limited, an organization that works to bring science and technology into the sport and healthcare sectors. With ABTP, a group of sports science and advanced physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) centers, the organization has served more than 5,000 athletes and medical patients. Under the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, a non-profit initiative, athletes are provided access to the latest sports technology and high-performance physical training for free. Many athletes from sports such as swimmingbadmintonboxing, and para-athletics have benefited from the foundation’s various programs.

Since his retirement, Bindra has been involved with the TOP Scheme, one of India’s most significant policies for athlete development. He has also been a part of the ISSF and IOC Athlete Commissions, where he has worked for the development of athletes through mental health, financial stability, and entrepreneurship initiatives.

Summer Olympics

Year Event Rank Notes
2000 Sydney 10 m air rifle 11 590
2004 Athens 10 m air rifle 7 694.6
2008 Beijing 10 m air rifle 700.5
2012 London 10 m air rifle 16 594
2016 Rio 10 m air rifle 4 163.8

 

Personal life

Harper Sport published Bindra’s autobiography, A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold, which he co-authored with sportswriter Rohit Brijnath in October 2011. It was formally released by Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken on October 27, 2011 at a function in New Delhi. The book received positive reviews, and Harshvardhan Kapoor has been cast for the lead role in a future biopic based on the memoir.

 

Awards and accolades

Awards for 2008 Olympic gold medal

  • ₹15 million(US$210,000) by Mittal Champions Trust
  • ₹5 million(US$70,000) cash prize from the Indian Central Government
  • ₹2.5 million(US$35,000) cash prize by the state government of Haryana
  • ₹2.5 million(US$35,000) cash prize by the Board of Control for Cricket in India
  • ₹1.5 million(US$21,000) cash prize by the Steel Ministry of India
  • ₹1.1 million(US$15,000) cash prize by the state government of Bihar. The Patna Indoor Stadium will be renamed after Bindra.
  • ₹1 million(US$14,000) prize by the state government of Karnataka
  • ₹1 million(US$14,000) cash prize by S. Amolak Singh Gakhal, chairman, Gold’s Gym
  • ₹1 million(US$14,000) cash prize by the chief minister of Maharashtra state
  • ₹500,000(US$7,000) cash prize by the state government of Orissa
  • ₹500,000(US$7,000) cash prize by government of Tamil Nadu
  • ₹100,000(US$1,400) cash prize by the state government of Chhattisgarh
  • ₹100,000(US$1,400) cash prize by the state government of Madhya Pradesh
  • A free lifetime railway pass by the Railway Ministry of India
  • A gold medal by the state government of Kerala
  • ₹1.5 million(US$21,000) cash award by Pune Municipal Corporation

P. V. Sindhu

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (born 5 July 1995) is an Indian professional badminton player. Having made her international debut in 2009, she rose to a career high ranking of no. 2 in April 2017. Over the course of her career, Pusarla has won medals at multiple tournaments including Olympics and on the BWF circuit including a gold at the 2019 World Championships. She is the first Indian to become the Badminton World Champion and the first Indian woman to earn an Olympic silver medal.

Pusarla broke into the top 20 of the BWF World Ranking in September 2012 at the age of 17. Beginning in 2013, Pusarla won a medal at every world championships, with the exception of 2015. She is just the second woman after Zhang Ning to win five or more medals at the world championships. Pusarla represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics, becoming the first Indian badminton player to reach a final. She won the silver medal after losing out to Spain’s Carolina Marin.

Pusarla won her first superseries title at the 2016 China Open and followed it up with four more finals in 2017, winning the titles in South Korea and India. In addition to that, she has won a silver medal each at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games, and two bronze medals at the Uber Cup.

With earnings of US$8.5 million and $5.5 million respectively, Pusarla made the Forbes‘ list of Highest-Paid Female Athletes in 2018 and 2019. She is the recipient of the sports honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. She was also honoured with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, in January 2020.

Early life and training

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu was born in Hyderabad to P. V. Ramana and P. Vijaya. Both her parents have been national level volleyball players. Her father, Ramana, who was a member of the Indian volleyball team that won the bronze medal in 1986 Seoul Asian Games, received the Arjuna Award in 2000 for his contribution to the sports.

Pusarla lives in HyderabadTelangana. She was educated at Auxilium High SchoolHyderabad and at St. Ann’s College for WomenHyderabad. Though her parents played professional volleyball, Pusarla chose badminton over it because she drew inspiration from the success of Pullela Gopichand, the 2001 All England Open Badminton Champion. She eventually started playing badminton from the age of eight. Pusarla first learned the basics of the sport with the guidance of Mehboob Ali at the badminton courts of Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad. Soon after, she joined Pullela Gopichand’s Gopichand Badminton Academy. While profiling Pusarla’s career, a correspondent with The Hindu wrote:

“The fact that she reports on time at the coaching camps daily, traveling a distance of 56 km from her residence, is perhaps a reflection of her willingness to complete her desire to be a good badminton player with the required hard work and commitment.”

Gopichand seconded this correspondent’s opinion when he said that “the most striking feature in Pusarla’s game is her attitude and the never-say-die spirit.” After joining Gopichand’s badminton academy, Pusarla won several titles. In the under-10 years category, she won the 5th Servo All India ranking championship in the doubles category and the singles title at the Ambuja Cement All India ranking. In the under-13 years category, Pusarla won the singles title at the Sub-juniors in Pondicherry, doubles titles at the Krishna Khaitan All India Tournament IOC All India Ranking, the Sub-Junior Nationals and the All India Ranking in Pune. She also won the under-14 team gold medal at the 51st National State Games in India.

 

Endorsements

An Economic Times report published in March 2017, said that she is second only to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli when it comes to earnings from brand endorsements. Pusarla charges brands anywhere between ₹10 million (US$140,000) and ₹12.5 million (US$180,000) for a single day of endorsement-related activities.

Pusarla has endorsement deals with JBLBridgestone Tyres, sports drink Gatorade, pain reliever ointment Moov, online fashion store Myntra, e-commerce portal Flipkart, phone maker Nokia and electronics major Panasonic. She also endorses Stayfree, health drink Boost, honey producer APIS Himalaya, herbal health drink firm Ojasvita and the Bank of Baroda. She is also a brand ambassador for both the Central Reserve Police Force and Vizag Steel.

In February 2019, it was announced that Pusarla had signed a four-year sports sponsorship deal for ₹500 million (US$7.0 million) with Chinese sports brand Li Ning. Pusarla’s deal is one of the biggest in world badminton. Pusarla reportedly will get ₹400 million (US$5.6 million) as sponsorship while the rest of the money will be for equipment. This was Li-Ning’s second stint with Pusarla, who was with them for two years in 2014-2015 for a sum of ₹12.5 million (US$180,000) a year. In 2016, Pusarla was back with Yonex for a ₹35 million (US$490,000) per year contract for a period of three years.

Honours

 

 

Personal life

Pusarla has been employed with Bharat Petroleum since July 2013, as an assistant sports manager with their Hyderabad office. Following her silver-medal win at the Rio Olympics, she was promoted to deputy sports manager. She was appointed as the first brand ambassador of Bridgestone India. She was also appointed as the Deputy Collector (Group-I) by the Andhra Pradesh government.

She was the flag bearer for the Indian contingent in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Awards and recognition

National

Others[edit]

Rewards for winning the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

Leander Paes

Leander Adrian Paes (born 17 June 1973) is an Indian professional tennis player. He is widely considered one of the greatest doubles players in the history of the sport. He holds the record for the most doubles wins in the Davis Cup.

Paes has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He holds a career Grand Slam in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, and achieved the rare men’s doubles/mixed doubles double at the 1999 Wimbledon tournament. His mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 2010 made him the second man (after Rod Laver) to win Wimbledon titles in three decades.

Paes received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honor, in 1996–97; the Arjuna Award in 1990; the Padma Shri award in 2001; and India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan prize in January 2014, for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India.

He won a bronze medal for India in singles in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic Games.

He is a former Davis Cup team captain, and holds the record for the most Davis Cup doubles wins with 43 victories (surpassing Nicola Pietrangeli‘s 42).

He plays in World Team Tennis for the Washington Kastles. He was on the 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 championship teams and was named Male MVP for 2009 and 2011 for all of World Team Tennis.

He is the sports ambassador of the Indian state of Haryana. Paes has announced that he will retire in 2020, which will be his farewell season on the Pro-circuit.”I want to announce 2020 as my farewell year as a pro tennis player,” Paes wrote in a statement, which he posted on his Twitter handle.

 

Early life

LEANDER was born in Calcutta, India, on 17 June 1973 to Vece Paes, a Goan, and, Jennifer Paes, from Calcutta. He was educated at La Martiniere Calcutta, Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School  and the St. Xavier’s College of the University of Calcutta. His parents were both athletes. Vece was a midfield squad member in the bronze medal-winning Indian field hockey team at the 1972 Munich Olympics although he did not personally receive a medal as he did not take to the field in any of India’s matches. His mother captained the Indian basketball team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship.

Paes is a direct descendant of Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta through his mother. Paes had a live-in-relationship with Rhea Pillai in 2005. The couple have a daughter, Aiyana. She filed a case at a local metropolitan court against Paes in 2014, alleging that he had her belongings removed from a wing of his home so his visiting parents could stay there.

Paes enrolled with the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy in Madras (Chennai) in 1985, where he was coached by Dave O’Meara.] The academy played a key role in his early development. Leander earned international fame when he won the 1990 Wimbledon Junior title and rose to no. 1 in the junior world rankings at age 17.

In 2010, he joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation co-founded by Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone to support talented Indian athletes.

Significant finals

Grand Slam finals

Doubles: 16 (8 titles, 8 runner-ups)

By winning the 2012 Australian Open title, Paes achieved the career Grand Slam.

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1999 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Jonas Björkman
 Patrick Rafter
3–6, 6–4, 4–6, 7–6(12–10), 4–6
Winner 1999 French Open Clay  Mahesh Bhupathi  Goran Ivanišević
 Jeff Tarango
6–2, 7–5
Winner 1999 Wimbledon Grass  Mahesh Bhupathi  Paul Haarhuis
 Jared Palmer
6–7(10–12), 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)
Runner-up 1999 US Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Sébastien Lareau
 Alex O’Brien
6–7, 4–6
Winner 2001 French Open (2) Clay  Mahesh Bhupathi  Petr Pála
 Pavel Vízner
7–6, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 US Open Hard  David Rikl  Mark Knowles
 Daniel Nestor
3–6, 3–6
Runner-up 2006 Australian Open Hard  Martin Damm  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
6–4, 3–6, 4–6
Winner 2006 US Open Hard  Martin Damm  Jonas Björkman
 Max Mirnyi
6–7(5–7), 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 2008 US Open Hard  Lukáš Dlouhý  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
6–7(5–7), 6–7(10–12)
Winner 2009 French Open (3) Clay  Lukáš Dlouhý  Wesley Moodie
 Dick Norman
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Winner 2009 US Open (2) Hard  Lukáš Dlouhý  Mahesh Bhupathi
 Mark Knowles
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2010 French Open Clay  Lukáš Dlouhý  Nenad Zimonjić
 Daniel Nestor
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 2011 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 4–6
Winner 2012 Australian Open Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
7–6(7–1), 6–2
Runner-up 2012 US Open Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 4–6
Winner 2013 US Open (3) Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Alexander Peya
 Bruno Soares
6–1, 6–3

Mixed doubles: 18 (10 titles, 8 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1999 Wimbledon Grass  Lisa Raymond  Anna Kournikova
 Jonas Björkman
6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 2001 US Open Hard  Lisa Raymond  Rennae Stubbs
 Todd Woodbridge
6–4, 5–7, [11–9]
Winner 2003 Australian Open Hard  Martina Navratilova  Eleni Daniilidou
 Todd Woodbridge
6–4, 7–5
Winner 2003 Wimbledon (2) Grass  Martina Navratilova  Anastassia Rodionova
 Andy Ram
6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 Australian Open Hard  Martina Navratilova  Elena Bovina
 Nenad Zimonjić
6–1, 7–6
Runner-up 2005 French Open Clay  Martina Navratilova  Daniela Hantuchová
 Fabrice Santoro
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2007 US Open Hard  Meghann Shaughnessy  Victoria Azarenka
 Max Mirnyi
6–4, 7–6(8–6)
Winner 2008 US Open Hard  Cara Black  Liezel Huber
 Jamie Murray
7–6, 6–4
Runner-up 2009 Wimbledon Grass  Cara Black  Anna-Lena Grönefeld
 Mark Knowles
7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 2009 US Open Hard  Cara Black  Carly Gullickson
 Travis Parrot
6–2, 6–4
Winner 2010 Australian Open (2) Hard  Cara Black  Ekaterina Makarova
 Jaroslav Levinský
7–5, 6–3
Winner 2010 Wimbledon (3) Grass  Cara Black  Lisa Raymond
 Wesley Moodie
6–4, 7–6
Runner-up 2012 Australian Open Hard  Elena Vesnina  Bethanie Mattek-Sands
 Horia Tecău
3–6, 7–5, [3–10]
Runner-up 2012 Wimbledon Grass  Elena Vesnina  Lisa Raymond
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 7–5, 4–6
Winner 2015 Australian Open (3) Hard  Martina Hingis  Kristina Mladenovic
 Daniel Nestor
6–4, 6–3
Winner 2015 Wimbledon (4) Grass  Martina Hingis  Tímea Babos
 Alexander Peya
6–1, 6–1
Winner 2015 US Open (2) Hard  Martina Hingis  Bethanie Mattek-Sands
 Sam Querrey
6–4, 3–6, [10–7]
Winner 2016 French Open Clay  Martina Hingis  Sania Mirza
 Ivan Dodig
4–6, 6–4, [10–8]

Olympic medal matches

Singles: 1 (1 bronze medal)

Bronze medal final

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Bronze 1996  Atlanta Hard  Fernando Meligeni 3–6, 6–2, 6–4

Doubles: 1

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
4th place 2004 Athens Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Mario Ančić
 Ivan Ljubičić
6–7(5–7), 6–4, 14–16

 

Playing style

Leander has been described as having a strange playing style by Andre Agassi. He varies his play as the match goes on; he is one of the best volleyers and a talented drop shotter. His volleying techniques were learnt from former Indian player Akhtar Ali.[66] He hits a one-handed backhand, which he drives only seldom, preferring instead to slice when returning serve or rallying from his backhand.

Acting career

Leander made his film debut in Ashok Kohli’s Rajdhani Express, a socio-political thriller.

 

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli (born 5 November 1988) is an Indian cricketer and the current captain of the India national team. A right-handed top-order batsman, Kohli is regarded as one of the best contemporary batsmen in the world. He plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and has been the team’s captain since 2013. Since October 2017, he has been the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world and is currently 2nd in Test rankings with 886 points.Among Indian batsmen, Kohli has the best ever Test rating (937 points), ODI rating (911 points) and T20I rating (897 points).

Kohli captained India Under-19s to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. After a few months later, he made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19. Initially having played as a reserve batsman in the Indian team, he soon established himself as a regular in the ODI middle-order and was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in 2011 and shrugged off the tag of “ODI specialist” by 2013 with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa. Having reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time in 2013, Kohli also found success in the Twenty20 format, winning the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016).

Kohli was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012 and handed over the Test captaincy following Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s Test retirement in 2014. In early 2017, he became the limited-overs captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from the position. In ODIs, Kohli has the second highest number of centuries and the highest number of centuries in run-chases in the world. He holds the world record for being the fastest batsman to 8,000, 9,000, 10,000,11,000 and 12,000 runs in ODI cricket, reaching the milestones in 175, 194, 205 , 222 and 242 innings respectively. Kohli has been the recipient of many awards such as the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) in 2017 and 2018; ICC Test Player of the Year 2018; ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012, 2017 and 2018 and Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He was given the Arjuna Award in 2013, the Padma Shri under the sports category in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India, in 2018. Kohli is ranked as one of the world’s most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes. In 2018, Time magazine named Kohli one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2020, Kohli was ranked 66th in Forbes list of the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world for the year 2020 with estimated earnings of $26 million. Virat Kohli is the only cricketer to feature in Forbes.

Early life

Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi into a Punjabi Hindu family. His father, Prem Kohli, worked as a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, is a housewife. He has an older brother, Vikas, and an older sister, Bhavna. According to his family, when he was three-years old, Kohli would pick up a cricket bat, start swinging it and ask his father to bowl at him.

Kohli was raised in Uttam Nagar and started his schooling at Vishal Bharti Public School. In 1998, the West Delhi Cricket Academy was created and a nine-year-old Kohli was part of its first intake. Kohli’s father took him to the academy after their neighbours suggested that “Virat shouldn’t waste his time in gully cricket and instead join a professional club”. Kohli trained at the academy under Rajkumar Sharma and also played matches at the Sumeet Dogra Academy at Vasundhara Enclave at the same time. Sharma recounts Kohli’s early days at his academy, “He oozed talent. It was so difficult to keep him quiet. He was a natural in whatever he did and I was most impressed with his attitude. He was ready to bat at any spot, and I had to literally push him home after the training sessions. He just wouldn’t leave.” In ninth grade, he shifted to Saviour Convent in Paschim Vihar to help his cricket practice. Apart from sports, Kohli was good at academics as well, and his teachers remember him as “a bright and alert child”. Kohli’s family lived in Meera Bagh until 2015 when they moved to Gurgaon.

Kohli’s father died on 18 December 2006 due to a stroke after being bed-ridden for a month. Regarding his early life, Kohli has said in an interview, “I’ve seen a lot in life. Losing my father at a young age, the family business not doing too well, staying in a rented place. There were tough times for the family… It’s all embedded in my memory.” According to Kohli, his father supported his cricket training during his childhood, “My father was my biggest support. He was the one who drove me to practice every day. I miss his presence sometimes.”

Youth and domestic career

 

Kohli first played for Delhi Under-15 team in October 2002 in the 2002–03 Polly Umrigar Trophy. He was the leading run-scorer for his team in that tournament with 172 runs at an average of 34.40. He became the captain of the team for the 2003–04 Polly Umrigar Trophy and scored 390 runs in 5 innings at an average of 78 including two centuries and two fifties. In late 2004, he was selected in the Delhi Under-17 team for the 2003–04 Vijay Merchant Trophy. He scored 470 runs in four matches at an average of 117.50 with two hundreds and top-score of 251*. Delhi Under-17s won the 2004–05 Vijay Merchant Trophy in which Kohli finished as the highest run-scorer with 757 runs from 7 matches at an average of 84.11 with two centuries. In February 2006, he made his List A debut for Delhi against Services but did not get to bat.

In July 2006, Kohli was selected in the India Under-19 squad on its tour of England. He averaged 105 in the three-match ODI series against England Under-19s and 49 in the three-match Test series. India Under-19 went on to win both the series. At the conclusion of the tour, the India Under-19 coach Lalchand Rajput was impressed with Kohli and said, “Kohli showed strong technical skills against both pace and spin”. In September, the India Under-19 team toured Pakistan. Kohli averaged 58 in the Test series and 41.66 in the ODI series against Pakistan Under-19s.

“The way I approached the game changed that day. I just had one thing in my mind – that I have to play for my country and live that dream for my dad.”

— Kohli on his innings against Karnataka

Kohli made his first-class debut for Delhi against Tamil Nadu in November 2006, at the age of 18, and scored 10 in his debut innings. He came into the spotlight in December when he decided to play for his team against Karnataka on the day after his father’s death and went on to score 90. He went directly to the funeral after he was dismissed. Delhi captain Mithun Manhas said, “That is an act of great commitment to the team and his innings turned out to be crucial,” while coach Chetan Chauhan lauded Kohli’s “attitude and determination.” His mother noted that “Virat changed a bit after that day. Overnight he became a much more matured person. He took every match seriously. He hated being on the bench. It’s as if his life hinged totally on cricket after that day. Now, he looked like he was chasing his father’s dream which was his own too.” He scored a total of 257 runs from 6 matches at an average of 36.71 in that season.

In April 2007, he made his Twenty20 debut and finished as the highest run-getter for his team in the Inter-State T20 Championship with 179 runs at an average of 35.80. In July–August 2007, the India Under-19 team toured Sri Lanka. In the triangular series against Sri Lanka Under-19s and Bangladesh Under-19s, Kohli was the second highest run-getter with 146 runs from 5 matches. In the two-match Test series that followed, he scored 244 runs at an average of 122 including a hundred and a fifty.

“He is a very physical type of player. He likes to impose himself on the game, backs it up with his skill.”

— India’s coach at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup Dav Whatmore on Kohli

In February–March 2008, Kohli captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. Batting at number 3, he scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47 and finished as the tournament’s third-highest run-getter and one of the three batsmen to score a hundred in the tournament. His century (100 runs from 74 balls) against the West Indies Under-19s in the group stage, which was called “the innings of the tournament” by ESPNcricinfo, gave India a 50-run victory and earned Kohli the man of the match. Kohli picked up a leg injury during the match, but recovered in time to play the quarter-final match against England Under-19s. He was instrumental in India’s three-wicket semi-final win over New Zealand Under-19s in which he took 2/27 and scored 43 in the tense run-chase and was awarded the man of the match. He scored 19 against South Africa Under-19s in the final which India won by 12 runs (D/L method). ESPNcricinfo commended him for making several tactical bowling changes during the tournament.

Following the Under-19 World Cup, Kohli was bought by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000 on a youth contract. In June 2008, Kohli and his Under-19 teammates Pradeep Sangwan and Tanmay Srivastava were awarded the Border-Gavaskar scholarship. The scholarship allowed the three players to train for six weeks at Cricket Australia‘s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. In July 2008, he was included in India’s 30-man probable squad for the ICC Champions Trophy which was to be held in Pakistan in September 2008. He was also picked in the India Emerging Players squad for the four-team Emerging Players Tournament in Australia. He was in fine form in that tournament and scored 206 runs in six matches at an average of 41.20.

International career

Early years

In August 2008, Kohli was included in the Indian ODI squad for tour of Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. Prior to the Sri Lankan tour, Kohli had played only eight List A matches, and his selection was called a “surprise call-up”. During the Sri Lankan tour, as both first-choice openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were injured, Kohli batted as a makeshift opener throughout the series. He made his international debut, at the age of 19, in the first ODI of the tour and was dismissed for 12. He made his first ODI half century, a score of 54, in the fourth match which helped India win the series. He had scores of 37, 25 and 31 in the other three matches. India won the series 3–2 which was India’s first ODI series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

After the Champions Trophy was postponed to 2009, Kohli was picked as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan in the India A squad for the unofficial Tests against Australia A in September 2008. He batted only once in the two-match series, and scored 49 in that innings. Later that month in September 2008, he played for Delhi in the Nissar Trophy against SNGPL (winners of Quaid-i-Azam Trophy from Pakistan) and top-scored for Delhi in both innings, with 52 and 197. The match was drawn but SNGPL won the trophy on first-innings lead. In October 2008, Kohli played for Indian Board President’s XI in a four-day tour match against Australia. He made 105 and 16* in that match against a bowling line-up consisting of Brett LeeStuart ClarkMitchell JohnsonPeter Siddle and Jason Krejza.

Kohli was included in the squad for the home ODI series against England in November 2008 but was not given a chance to play, due to the inclusion of Tendulkar and Sehwag in the team. In December 2008, Kohli was given a Grade D contract in the annual BCCI contracts list which entitled him to receive ₹1.5 million (equivalent to ₹3.4 million or US$47,000 in 2019). He was then dropped from the squad for the five-match ODI series in Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka in January 2009.

Kohli was selected in the four-team Emerging Players Tournament in July–August 2009 held in Australia. He opened the innings for India Emerging Players in that tournament and finished as the leading run-getter with 398 runs from seven matches at an average of 66.33. He scored 104 off 102 balls in the final against South Africa Emerging Players at Brisbane to help his team win the match by 17 runs and clinch the title. At the conclusion of the tournament, Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of the national selection committee, was impressed with Kohli and remarked “I must say, opener Virat Kohli was outstanding. Some of the shots he played spoke about his ability.” Kohli has called this tournament as the “turning point” of his career.

Kohli returned to the national team replacing the injured Gautam Gambhir in the Indian squad for the tri-series in Sri Lanka. He batted at number 4 for India in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy because of an injury to Yuvraj Singh. In the inconsequential group match against the West Indies, Kohli scored an unbeaten 79 in India’s successful chase of 130 and won his first man of the match award. Kohli played as a reserve batsman in the seven-match home ODI series against Australia, appearing in two matches as injury replacement. He found a place in the home ODI series against Sri Lanka in December 2009 and scored 27 and 54 in the first two ODIs before making way for Yuvraj who regained fitness for the third ODI. However, Yuvraj’s finger injury recurred leading to him being ruled out indefinitely. Kohli returned to the team in the fourth ODI at Kolkata and scored his first ODI century–107 off 111 balls–sharing a 224-run partnership for the third wicket with Gambhir, who made his personal best score of 150. India won by seven wickets to seal the series 3–1. The man of the match was awarded to Gambhir who gave the award to Kohli.

Tendulkar was rested for the tri-nation ODI tournament in Bangladesh in January 2010, which enabled Kohli to play in each of India’s five matches. Against Bangladesh, he scored 91 to help secure a win after India collapsed to 51/3 early in their run-chase of 297. In the next match against Sri Lanka, Kohli ended unbeaten on 71 to help India win the match with a bonus point having chased down their target of 214 within 33 overs. The next day, he scored his second ODI century, against Bangladesh, bringing up the mark with the winning runs. He became only the third Indian batsman to score two ODI centuries before their 22nd birthday, after Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. Kohli was much praised for his performances during the series in particular by the Indian captain Dhoni. Although Kohli made only two runs in the final against Sri Lanka in a four-wicket Indian defeat, he finished as the leading run-getter of the series with 275 runs from five innings at an average of 91.66. In the three-match ODI series at home against South Africa in February, Kohli batted in two games and had scores of 31 and 57.

Rise through the ranks

Raina was named captain and Kohli vice-captain for the tri-series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe in May–June 2010, as many first-choice players skipped the tour. Kohli made 168 runs at 42.00 including two fifties, but India suffered three defeats in four matches and crashed out of the series. During the series, Kohli became the fastest Indian batsman to reach 1,000 runs in ODI cricket. He made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe at Harare and scored an unbeaten 26. Later that month, Kohli batted at 3 in a full-strength Indian team throughout the 2010 Asia Cup and scored a total of 67 runs at an average of 16.75. His struggles with form continued in the tri-series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Sri Lanka where he averaged 15.

 

Despite the poor run of form, Kohli was retained in the ODI squad for a three-match series against Australia in October, and in the only completed match of the series at Visakhapatnam, scored his third ODI century–118 off 121 balls–which helped India reach the target of 290 after losing the openers early. Winning the man of the match, he admitted that he was under pressure to keep his place in the team after failures in the two previous series. Part of a largely inexperienced team for the home ODI series against New Zealand, Kohli scored a match-winning 104-ball 105, his fourth ODI hundred and second in succession, in the first game, and followed it up with 64 and 63* in the next two matches. India completed a 5–0 whitewash of New Zealand, while Kohli’s performance in the series helped him become a regular in the ODI team and made him a strong contender for a spot in India’s World Cup squad. He was India’s leading run-scorer in ODIs in 2010, with 995 runs from 25 matches at an average of 47.38 including three centuries.

Kohli was India’s leading run-getter in the five-match ODI series of the South African tour in January 2011, with 193 runs at an average of 48.25 including two fifties, both in Indian defeats. During the series, he jumped to number two spot on the ICC Rankings for ODI batsmen, and was named in India’s 15-man squad for the World Cup. The inclusion of both Kohli and Raina in the World Cup squad resulted in speculations about which of the two batsmen will make it to the playing eleven. Days before India’s first match of the tournament, Indian captain Dhoni indicated that the in-form Kohli is likely to be preferred over Raina.

Kohli played in every match of India’s successful World Cup campaign. He scored an unbeaten 100, his fifth ODI century, in the first match against Bangladesh and became the first Indian batsman to score a century on World Cup debut. In the next four group matches he had low scores of 8, 34, 12 and 1 against England, IrelandNetherlands and South Africa respectively. Having returned to form with 59 against the West Indies, he scored only 24 and 9 in the quarter-final against Australia and semi-final against Pakistan respectively In the final against Sri Lanka at Mumbai, he scored 35, sharing an 83-run partnership with Gambhir for the third wicket after India had lost both openers within the seventh over chasing 275. This partnership is regarded as “one of the turning points in the match”, as India went on to win the match by six wickets and lift the World Cup for the first time since 1983.

Consistent performance in limited overs

When India toured the West Indies in June–July 2011, they chose a largely inexperienced squad, resting Tendulkar and others such as Gambhir and Sehwag missing out due to injuries. Kohli was one of three uncapped players in the Test squad. Kohli found success in the ODI series which India won 3–2, with a total of 199 runs at an average of 39.80. His best efforts came in the second ODI at Port of Spain where he won the man of the match for his score of 81 which gave India a seven-wicket victory, and the fifth ODI at Kingston where his innings of 94 came in a seven-wicket defeat. Kohli made his Test debut at Kingston in the first match of the Test series that followed. He batted at 5 and was dismissed for 4 and 15 caught behind by Fidel Edwards in both innings India went on to win the Test series 1–0 but Kohli amassed just 76 runs from five innings,  struggling against the short ball and was particularly troubled by the fast bowling of Edwards, who dismissed him three times in the series.

Initially dropped from the Test squad for India’s four-match series in England in July and August, Kohli was recalled as replacement for the injured Yuvraj, though did not play in any match in the series. He found moderate success in the subsequent ODI series in which he averaged 38.80. His score of 55 in the first ODI at Chester-le-Street was followed by a string of low scores in the next three matches.In the last game of the series, Kohli scored his sixth ODI hundred–107 runs off 93 balls–and shared a 170-run third-wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid, who was playing his last ODI, to help India post their first 300-plus total of the tour. Kohli was dismissed hit wicket in that innings which was the only century in the series by any player on either team and earned him praise for his “hard work” and “maturity”. However, England won the match by D/L method and the series 3–0.

In October 2011, Kohli was the leading run-scorer of the five-match home ODI series against England which India won 5–0. He scored a total of 270 runs across five matches including unbeaten knocks of 112 from 98 balls at Delhi, where he put on an unbroken 209-run partnership with Gambhir, and 86 at Mumbai, both in successful run-chases. Owing to his ODI success, Kohli was included, ahead of Raina, in the Test squad to face the West Indies in November. In competition with Yuvraj Singh for the number six position, it was not until the final match of the series that Kohli was selected in the team. He scored a pair of fifties in the match, with his first innings score of 52 ensuring India avoided follow-on. India won the subsequent ODI series 4–1 in which Kohli managed to accumulate 243 runs at 60.75. During the series, Kohli scored his eighth ODI century and his second at Visakhapatnam, where he made 117 off 123 balls in India’s run-chase of 271,  a knock which raised his reputation as “an expert of the chase”. Kohli ended up as the leading run-getter in ODIs for the year 2011, with 1381 runs from 34 matches at 47.62 and four centuries.

Ascension to ODI vice-captaincy

Having found a place in India’s Test squad for the tour of Australia in December 2011, Kohli top-scored with 132 in a tour match against Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI to strengthen his case for a spot in the playing eleven ahead of Rohit Sharma. Batting at number 6, Kohli failed to go past 25 in the first two Tests, as his defensive technique was exposed. While fielding on the boundary during the second day of the second match, he gestured to the crowd with his middle finger for which he was fined 50% of his match fee by the match referee. He top-scored in each of India’s innings in the third Test at Perth, with 44 and 75, even as India surrendered to their second consecutive innings defeat. In the fourth and final match at Adelaide, Kohli scored his maiden Test century of 116 runs in the first innings; it was the only century scored by an Indian in the series. India suffered a 0–4 whitewash and Kohli, India’s top run-scorer in the series, was described as “the lone bright spot in an otherwise nightmare visit for the tourists”.

 

In the first seven matches of the Commonwealth Bank triangular series against hosts Australia and Sri Lanka, Kohli made two fifties–77 at Perth and 66 at Brisbane–both against Sri Lanka. India registered two wins, a tie and four losses in these seven matches, which meant that they needed a bonus point win their last group match against Sri Lanka at Hobart, to stay in contention for qualifying for the finals series. Being set a target of 321 by Sri Lanka, Kohli came to the crease with India’s score at 86/2 and went on to score 133 not out from 86 balls to take India to a comfortable win with 13 overs to spare. India earned a bonus point with the win and Kohli was named Man of the Match for his knock, which included scoring 24 runs in an over by Lasith Malinga. Former Australian cricketer and commentator Dean Jones rated Kohli’s innings as “one of the greatest ODI knocks of all time”. However, Sri Lanka beat Australia three days later in their last group fixture and knocked India out of the series. With 373 runs at 53.28, Kohli once again finished as India’s highest run-scorer and lone centurion of the series.

Kohli was appointed the vice-captain for the 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh on the back of his fine performance in Australia. Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of selectors, told reporters, “Hats off to Virat Kohli for the way he played. We have to start looking towards the future. The selection committee and the Board felt Kohli is future captaincy material.” Kohli was in fine form during the tournament, finishing as the leading run-scorer with 357 runs at an average of 119. He scored 108 in the opening match against Sri Lanka in a 50-run Indian victory while India lost their next match to Bangladesh in which he made 66. In the final group stage match against Pakistan, he scored a personal best 183 off 148 balls, his 11th ODI century. Coming in at 0/1, he struck 22 fours and a six in his innings to help India to chase down 330, their highest successful ODI run-chase at the time. His knock was the highest individual score in Asia Cup history, the joint-second highest score in an ODI run-chase and the highest individual score against Pakistan in ODIs surpassing previous record of 156 by Brian Lara. Kohli was awarded the man of the match in both matches that India won, but India could not progress to the final of the tournament.

In July–August 2012, Kohli struck two centuries in the five-match ODI tour of Sri Lanka–106 off 113 balls at Hambantota and 128* off 119 balls at Colombo–winning man of the match in both games. India won the series 4–1 and on account of scoring the most runs in the series, Kohli was named player of the series.[  In the one-off T20I that followed, he scored a 48-ball 68, his first T20I fifty, and won the player of the series award. Kohli scored his second Test century at Bangalore during New Zealand’s tour of India and won his first man of the match award in Test cricket. India won the two-match series 2–0, and Kohli averaged 106 with one hundred and two fifties from three innings. In the subsequent T20I series, he scored 70 runs off 41 balls, but India lost the match by one run and the series 1–0. He continued to be in good form during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, with 185 runs from 5 matches at an average of 46.25. He hit two fifties during the tournament, 50 against Afghanistan in the group stage and 78* against Pakistan in the Super Eights, winning man of the match for both innings. He was named in the ICC ‘Team of the Tournament’.

Kohli’s Test form dipped during the first three matches of England’s tour of India with a top score of 20 and England leading the series 2–1. He scored a patient 103 from 295 balls in the last match on a slow and low pitch at Nagpur,  keeping India in contention of drawing the series. ESPNcricinfo praised Kohli for having “demonstrated his growing maturity to play just the sort of innings his side required”, while Kohli described his knock as “a learning innings”.However, the match ended in a draw and England won their first Test series in India in 28 years. Against Pakistan in December 2012, Kohli averaged 18 in the T20Is and 4.33 in the ODIs, being troubled by the fast bowlers, particularly Junaid Khan, who dismissed him on all three occasions in the ODI series.  Kohli had a quiet ODI series against England, apart from a match-winning 77* in the third ODI at Ranchi with a total of 155 runs at an average of 38.75

“I love watching Virat Kohli bat. He looks to me like an individual of my own heart. I love his aggression, and [he has] serious passion that I used to have. He reminds me of myself.”

— Former West Indies captain Sir Viv Richards on Kohli

Kohli scored his fourth Test century (107) at Chennai in the first match of the home Test series against Australia in February 2013. He said he was “feeling hungry for this series” after a poor run of form in the two previous series and also disappointed on getting out soon after reaching the hundred-run mark. India completed a 4–0 series sweep, becoming the first team to whitewash Australia in more than four decades. Kohli averaged 56.80 in the series and cemented his spot in the Test team.

 

In June 2013, Kohli featured in the ICC Champions Trophy in England which India won. He scored a match-winning 144 against Sri Lanka in a warm-up match. He scored 34, 22 and 22 not out in India’s group matches against South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan respectively, while India qualified for the semi-finals with an undefeated record. In the semi-final against Sri Lanka at Cardiff, he struck 58 not out in an eight-wicket win for India. The final between India and England at Birmingham was reduced to 20 overs after a rain delay. India batted first and Kohli top-scored with 43 from 34 balls, sharing a sixth-wicket partnership of 47 runs off 33 balls with Ravindra Jadeja and helping India reach 129/7 in 20 overs. India went on to secure a five-run win and their second consecutive ICC ODI tournament victory.  He was also named as part of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ by the ICC.

Setting records

Kohli stood-in as the captain for the first ODI of the triangular series in the West Indies after Dhoni injured himself during the match. India lost the match by one wicket, and Dhoni was subsequently ruled out of the series with Kohli being named the captain for the remaining matches. In his second match as captain, Kohli scored his first hundred as captain, making 102 off 83 balls against the West Indies at Port of Spain in a bonus point win for India.  Many senior players including Dhoni were rested for the five-match ODI tour of Zimbabwe in July 2013, with Kohli being appointed captain for an entire series for the first time. In the first game of the series at Harare, he struck 115 runs from 108 balls, helping India chase down the target of 229 and winning the man of the match award. He batted on two more occasions in the series in which he had scores of 14 and 58 not out. India completed a 5–0 sweep of the series; their first in an away ODI series.

Kohli had a successful time with the bat in the seven-match ODI series against Australia. After top-scoring with 61 in the opening loss at Pune, he struck the fastest century by an Indian in ODIs in the second match at Jaipur. Reaching the milestone in just 52 balls and putting up an unbroken 186-run second-wicket partnership with Rohit Sharma that came in 17.2 overs, Kohli’s innings of 100 not out helped India chase down the target of 360 for the loss of one wicket with more than six overs to spare. This chase was the second-highest successful run-chase in ODI cricket, while Kohli’s knock became the fastest hundred against Australia and the third-fastest in a run-chase. He followed that innings with 68 in the next match at Mohali in another Indian defeat, before the next two matches were washed out by rain. In the sixth ODI at Nagpur, he struck 115 off only 66 balls to help India successfully chase the target of 351 and level the series 2–2 and won the man of the match.  He reached the 100-run mark in 61 balls, making it the third-fastest ODI century by an Indian batsman, and also became the fastest batsman in the world to score 17 hundreds in ODI cricket. India clinched the series after winning the last match in which he was run out for a duck. At the conclusion of the series, Kohli moved to the top position in the ICC ODI batsmen rankings for the first time in his career.

Kohli batted twice in the two-match Test series against the West Indies, and had scores of 3 and 57 being dismissed by Shane Shillingford in both innings. This was also the last Test series for Tendulkar and Kohli was expected to take Tendulkar’s number 4 batting position after the series. In the first game of the three-match ODI series that followed at Kochi, Kohli made 86 to seal a six-wicket win and won the man of the match. During the match, he also equalled Viv Richards‘ record of becoming the fastest batsman to make 5,000 runs in ODI cricket, reaching the landmark in his 114th innings. He missed out on his third century at Visakhapatnam in the next match, after being dismissed for 99 playing a hook shot off Ravi Rampaul. India lost the match by two wickets, but took the series 2–1 after winning the last match at Kanpur. With 204 runs at 68.00, Kohli finished the series as the leading run-getter and was awarded the man of the series.

Overseas season

India toured South Africa in December 2013 for three ODIs and two Tests. Kohli averaged 15.50 in the ODIs, including a duck.  In the first Test at Johannesburg, playing his first Test in South Africa and batting at 4 for the first time, Kohli scored 119 and 96. His hundred was the first by a subcontinent batsman at the venue since 1998. Regarding Kohli’s hundred, South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald said, “The one word that comes to my mind is responsibility. I think he [Kohli] showed great discipline and responsibility. It reminds me of Sachin Tendulkar when they came here in 1996.”  The match ended in a draw, and Kohli was awarded man of the match. India failed to win a single match on the tour, losing the second Test by 10 wickets in which he made 46 and 11.

“Kohli is the next chosen one. He exudes the intensity of Dravid, the audacity of Sehwag, and the extraordinary range of Tendulkar. That doesn’t make him better, simply sui generis, his own unique kind.”

— Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe on Kohli

Kohli continued to amass runs on the subsequent New Zealand tour. He averaged 58.21 in the five-match ODI series in which his efforts of 111-ball 123 at Napier, 65-ball 78 at Hamilton and 78-ball 82 at Wellington all went in vain as India were defeated 4–0. He made 214 runs at 71.33 in the two-match Test series that followed including an unbeaten 105 on the last day of the second Test at Wellington that helped India save the match.

India then travelled to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup and World Twenty20. Dhoni was ruled out of the Asia Cup after suffering a side strain during the New Zealand tour, which led to Kohli being named the captain for the tournament. Kohli scored 136 off 122 balls in India’s opening match against Bangladesh, sharing a 213-run third-wicket stand with Ajinkya Rahane, which helped India successfully chase 280.  It was his 19th ODI century and his fifth in Bangladesh, making him the batsman with most ODI centuries in Bangladesh. India were knocked out of the tournament after narrow losses against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in which Kohli scored 48 and 5 respectively.

Dhoni returned from injury to captain the team for 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and Kohli was named vice-captain. In India’s opening match of the tournament against Pakistan, Kohli top-scored with 36 not out to guide India to a seven-wicket win. He scored 54 off 41 balls in the next game against West Indies and an unbeaten 57 from 50 balls against Bangladesh, both in successful run-chases. In the semi-final, he made an unbeaten 72 in 44 deliveries to help India achieve the target of 173 with six wickets and five balls to spare. He won the man of the match for this knock which he called “my best T20 innings”.India posted 130/4 in the final against Sri Lanka, in which Kohli scored 77 from 58 balls, and eventually lost the match by six wickets. Kohli had made a total of 319 runs in the tournament at an average of 106.33, a record for most runs by an individual batsman in a single World Twenty20 tournament, for which he won the Man of the Tournament award.

Kohli and other senior players were rested for India’s tour of Bangladesh ahead of the England tour. India conceded a 3–1 defeat in the five-match Test series against England despite leading it 1–0 after the first two Tests. Kohli fared poorly in the series averaging just 13.40 in 10 innings with a top score of 39. He was dismissed for single-digit scores on six occasions in the series and was particularly susceptible to the swinging ball on off stump line, being dismissed several times edging the ball to the wicket-keeper or slip fielders. Man of the series James Anderson got Kohli’s wicket four times, while Kohli’s batting technique was questioned by analysts and former cricketers. Geoffrey Boycott said, “Jimmy Anderson ate him for breakfast. Every time Kohli came in, all he did was bowl at off stump, around the corridor of uncertainty and Kohli nicked it. He is playing with his bat too far away from his pad. He has to look at video replays of his technique and get back to basics”. India won the ODI series that followed 3–1, but Kohli’s struggles with the bat continued with an average of 18 in four innings. In the one-off T20I, he scored 41-ball 66, his first fifty-plus score of the tour on the last match of the tour India lost the match by three runs, but Kohli reached the number one spot for T20I batsmen in the ICC rankings.

Kohli had a successful time during India’s home ODI series win over the West Indies in October 2014. His 62 in the second ODI at Delhi was his first fifty across Tests and ODIs in 16 innings since February, and he stated that he got his “confidence back” with the innings. He struck his 20th ODI hundred–127 runs in 114 balls–in the fourth match at Dharamsala. India registered a 59-run victory and Kohli was awarded man of the match. Dhoni was rested for the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in November, enabling Kohli to lead the team for another full series. Kohli batted at 4 throughout the series and made scores of 22, 49, 53 and 66 in the first four ODIs, with India leading the series 4–0. In the fifth ODI at Ranchi, Kohli came in to bat with India at 14/2 in pursuit of 287. He made an unbeaten 139 off 126 balls to give his team a three-wicket win and a whitewash of Sri Lanka. Kohli was awarded player of the series, and it was the second whitewash under his captaincy. During the series he became the fastest batsman in the world to go past the 6000-run mark in ODIs.  With 1054 ODI runs at 58.55 in 2014, he became the second player in the world after Sourav Ganguly to make more than 1,000 runs in ODIs for four consecutive calendar years.

Test captaincy

 

For the first Test of the Australian tour in December 2014, Dhoni was not part of the Indian team at Adelaide due to an injury, and Kohli took the reins as Test captain for the first time. Kohli scored 115 in India’s first innings, becoming the fourth Indian to score a hundred on Test captaincy debut. In their second innings, India were set a target of 364 to be scored on the fifth day. Kohli came in to bat when the Indian innings was reduced to 57/2 and started batting aggressively. He put on 185 runs for the third wicket with Murali Vijay before Vijay’s dismissal, which triggered a batting collapse. From 242/2, India was bowled out for 315 with Kohli’s 141 off 175 balls being the top score. Kohli noted that his team was looking for a win and not a draw, while also saying that it was “the best Test I have been part of”. Kohli’s second innings ton was hailed by several Australian commentators as the finest fourth-innings performance they had ever seen in Australia.

Dhoni returned to the team as captain for the second match at Brisbane where Kohli scored 19 and 1 in a four-wicket defeat for India. In the Melbourne Boxing Day Test, Kohli was India’s top-scorer in both innings. He made his personal best Test score of 169 in the first innings while sharing a 262-run partnership with Rahane, India’s biggest partnership outside Asia in ten years. Kohli followed it with a score of 54 in India’s second innings on the fifth day, helping his team draw the Test match. Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket at the conclusion of this match, and Kohli was appointed as the full-time Test captain ahead of the fourth Test at Sydney. Captaining the Test team for the second time, Kohli hit 147 in the first innings of the match and became the first batsman in Test cricket history to score three hundreds in his first three innings as Test captain. He was dismissed for 46 in the second innings and India hung in for another draw. Kohli’s total of 692 runs in four Tests was the most by any Indian batsman in a Test series in Australia.

In January 2015, India failed to win a single match in the tri-nation ODI series against the hosts Australia and England. Kohli was unable to replicate his Test success in ODIs, failing to make a two-digit score in any of the four games Kohli’s ODI form did not improve in the lead-up to the World Cup, with scores of 18 and 5 in the warm-up matches against Australia and Afghanistan respectively.

 

In the first match of the World Cup against Pakistan at Adelaide, Kohli hit 107 in 126 balls, sharing 100-plus partnerships with both Dhawan and Raina, to help India set a total of 300 and win the match by 76 runs. For his knock, he was awarded the man of the match award, his 20th in ODIs and first in a World Cup match. He was dismissed for 46 in India’s second match against South Africa after another century partnership with opening batsman Dhawan. India went on to post 307 in 50 overs and register a 130-run victory in the match. India batted second in their remaining four group matches in which Kohli scored 33*, 33, 44* and 38 against UAE, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe respectively. India went on to secure wins in these four fixtures and top the Pool B points with an undefeated record. In India’s 109-run victory in the quarter-final over Bangladesh, Kohli was dismissed by Rubel Hossain for 3 edging the ball to the wicket-keeper. India was eliminated in the semi-final by Australia at Melbourne, where Kohli was dismissed for 1 off 13 balls, top-edging a short-pitched delivery from Mitchell Johnson.

Kohli had a slump in form when India toured Bangladesh in June 2015. He contributed only 14 in the one-off Test which ended in a draw and averaged 16.33 in the ODI series which Bangladesh won 2–1. Kohli ended his streak of low scores by scoring his 11th Test hundred in the first Test of the Sri Lankan tour which India lost. India came back and won the next two matches to seal the series 2–1, Kohli’s first series win as Test captain and India’s first away Test series win in four years.

During South Africa’s tour of India, Kohli became the fastest batsman in the world to make 1,000 runs in T20I cricket, reaching the milestone in his 27th innings.  In the ODI series, he made 77 at Rajkot and a match-winning 138 in the fourth ODI at Chennai that helped India draw level in the series. India lost the series after a defeat in the final ODI and Kohli finished the series with an average of 49. India came back to beat the top-ranked South African team 3–0 in the four-match Test series under Kohli’s captaincy, and climbed to number two position on the ICC Test rankings. He scored a total of 200 runs in the series at 33.33, including 44 and 88 in the fourth match at Delhi.

No. 1 Test team and limited-overs captaincy

Kohli started 2016 with scores of 91 and 59 in the first two ODIs of the limited-overs tour of Australia. He followed it up with a pair of hundreds–a run-a-ball 117 at Melbourne and 106 from 92 balls at Canberra–in the next two matches. During the course of the series, he became the fastest batsman in the world to cross the 7000-run mark in ODIs, getting to the milestone in his 161st innings, and the fastest to get to 25 centuries. After the ODI series ended in a 1–4 loss, the Indian team came back to whitewash the Australians 3–0 in the T20I series. Kohli made fifties in all three T20Is with scores of 90 not out, 59 not out and 50, winning two man of the matches as well as the man of the series award. He was also instrumental in India winning the Asia Cup in Bangladesh the following month in which he scored 49 in a run-chase of 84 against Pakistan, followed by an unbeaten 56 against Sri Lanka and 41 not out in the Final against Bangladesh in two more successful chases.

Kohli maintained his match-winning form in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India, scoring 55 not out in another successful run-chase against Pakistan. He struck an unbeaten 82 from 51 balls in India’s must-win group match against Australia in “an innings of sheer class” with “clean cricket shots”.The knock helped India win by six wickets and register a spot in the semi-final; Kohli went on to rate the innings as his best in the format. In the semi-final, Kohli top-scored once again with an unbeaten 89 from 47 deliveries, but West Indies overhauled India’s total of 192 and ended India’s campaign. His total of 273 runs in five matches at an average of 136.50 earned him his second consecutive Man of the Tournament award at the World Twenty20. He was named as captain of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2016 World Twenty20 by the ICC.

Playing his first Test in the West Indies since his debut series, Kohli scored 200 in the first Test at Antigua to ensure an innings-and-92-run win for India, their biggest win ever outside of Asia. It was his first double hundred in first-class cricket and the first made away from home by an Indian captain in Tests. India went on to wrap the series 2–0 and briefly top the ICC Test Rankings before being displaced by Pakistan at the position. He scored another double hundred–211 at Indore in the third Test against New Zealand–as India’s 3–0 whitewash victory saw them regain the top position in the ICC Test Rankings. In the subsequent ODI series, Kohli set up two wins for India batting second with unbeaten knocks of 85 at Dharamsala and 134-ball 154 at Mohali.[230] He then made 65 in the series-deciding fifth game at Visakhapatnam which India won.

Kohli got double centuries in the next two Test series against England and Bangladesh, making him the first batsman ever to score double centuries in four consecutive series. He broke the record of Australian great Donald Bradman and fellow Indian Rahul Dravid, both of whom had managed to get three. Against England, he got his then-highest Test score of 235.

2017 ICC Champions Trophy

Virat Kohli got the chance to captain in an ICC tournament for the first time in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. In the semi-final against Bangladesh, Kohli scored 96*, thus becoming the fastest batsman, in terms of innings, to reach 8,000 runs in ODIs in 175 innings. In the captaincy of Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team reached the final, but lost to Pakistan by 180 runs. In the third over of Indian innings, Virat Kohli was dropped in the slips for just five runs but caught the next ball by Shadab Khan at point on the bowling of Mohammad Amir. He was also named as part of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ at the 2017 Champions Trophy by the ICC.

10,000 runs in ODIs before age of 30

He followed it up with ODI centuries against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in consecutive series, equalling Ricky Ponting‘s tally of 30 ODI centuries. In October 2017, he was adjourned the ODI player of the series against New Zealand for scoring two ODI centuries, during the course of which he made a new record for the most runs (8,888), best average (55.55) and highest number of centuries (31) for any batsman when completing 200 ODIs. Kohli made several more records during the 3 match Test series against Sri Lanka at home in November. After scoring a century and a double century in the first two Tests, he ended up scoring yet another double century in the third Test, during which he became the eleventh Indian batsman to surpass 5000 runs in Test cricket while scoring his 20th Test century and 6th double century. During this match he also became the first batsman to score six double hundreds as a captain. With 610 runs in the series, Kohli also became the highest run-scorer by an Indian in a three-match Test series and the fourth-highest overall. India comfortably won the three-match series 1–0 and Kohli was adjudged man of the match for the second and third Test matches and player of the series. With this win, India equalled Australia for the record streak of nine consecutive series wins in Test cricket. He ended the year with 2818 international runs, which is recorded as the third-highest tally ever in a calendar year and the highest tally ever by an Indian player. The ICC named Kohli as captain of both their World Test XI and ODI XI for 2017.

2019 Cricket World Cup and the World Test Championship

In April 2019, he was named the captain of India’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 16 June 2019, in India’s match against Pakistan, Kohli became the fastest batsman, in terms of innings, to score 11,000 runs in ODI cricket. He reached the landmark in his 222nd innings. Eleven days later, in the match against the West Indies, Kohli became the fastest cricketer, in terms of innings, to score 20,000 runs in international cricket, doing so in his 417th innings. Kohli scored five consecutive fifty plus score in the tournament. India lost the semi-final against New Zealand, in which Kohli was out for just a run.

In October 2019, Kohli captained India for the 50th time in Test cricket, in the second Test against South Africa.  In the first innings of the match, Kohli scored an unbeaten 254 runs, passing 7,000 runs in Tests in the process, and became the first batsman for India to score seven double centuries in Test cricket. In November 2019, during the day/night Test match against Bangladesh, Kohli became the fastest captain to score 5,000 runs in Test cricket, doing so in his 86th innings. In the same match, he also scored his 70th century in international cricket.

In November 2020, Kohli was nominated for the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade, as well as Test, ODI and T20I player of the decade. Also in November, Kohli played in his 250th ODI match, in the second match against Australia.

Indian Premier League

 

In March 2008, Kohli was bought on a youth contract by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000. He had an indifferent 2008 season, with a total of 165 runs in 12 innings at an average of 15.00 and a strike rate of 105.09. He fared slightly better in the second season in which he made a total of 246 runs at 22.36, striking at over 112, while his team made it as far as the final. In the 2010 season, Kohli was the third highest run-getter for his team with 307 runs, averaging 27.90 and improving his strike rate to 144.81.

Ahead of the 2011 season, Kohli was the only player retained by the Royal Challengers franchise. Kohli was made vice-captain of the team that year and also captained the team in a few matches when the regular skipper Daniel Vettori was injured. The Royal Challengers coach Ray Jennings opined that the 22-year-old would become the future captain of not only the franchise but also the Indian team. Kohli was the second-highest run-getter of the season, only behind teammate Chris Gayle, and his team finished as runners-up of the IPL. Kohli accumulated a total of 557 runs at an average of 46.41 and a strike rate of over 121 including four fifties. In the 2012 IPL, he was moderately successful, averaging 28 for his 364 runs.

After Vettori’s retirement, Kohli was appointed as the team’s captain for the 2013 season. The Royal Challengers finished fifth on the league table that year, but Kohli found success with the bat. Averaging 45.28, he hit a total of 634 runs at a strike rate of over 138 including six fifties and a top-score of 99 and finished as the season’s third-highest run-scorer.

Bangalore finished seventh in the next season in which Kohli made 359 runs at 27.61. He found success with the bat in the 2015 IPL in which he led his team to the playoffs. He finished fifth on the season’s leading run-getters list with 505 runs at an average of 45.90 and a strike rate of more than 130.

At the 2016 IPL, the Royal Challengers finished runners-up and Kohli broke the record for most runs in an IPL season (of 733 runs) by scoring 973 runs in 16 matches at an average of 81.08, winning the Orange Cap as well as Most-valuable Player Award of Vivo IPL 2016. He scored four centuries in the tournament, having never scored one in the Twenty20 format before the start of the season, and also became the first player to reach the 4000-run milestone in the IPL. At the launch event of his biography, ‘Driven: The Virat Kohli Story’ in New Delhi, in October 2016, Kohli announced that RCB would be the IPL franchise that he would permanently play for.

Kohli missed the start of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury. Moreover, RCB finished the tournament at the bottom of the table, with Kohli scoring the most runs for his team, with 308 from 10 matches.

On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of IPL, he was also named in the all-time Cricinfo IPL XI.

In the 2018 season, Kohli was retained by RCB for a price of ₹170 million (US$2.4 million), the highest for any player that year.

On 28 March 2019, he became the second player to reach 5000 IPL runs after Suresh Raina.

International centuries

As of October 2019, Kohli has scored 27 Test and 43 ODI centuries which makes him the second most successful centurion in ODI cricket after Sachin Tendulkar.

Awards

Kohli receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour, from President Ram Nath Kovind in September 2018

National honours

Sporting honours

Other honours and awards

Endorsements

Kohli was signed up by sports agent Bunty Sajdeh of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment after the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Sajdeh recalls, “I didn’t go after them after they became stars. In fact, I watched Virat at the 2008 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. I was mighty impressed with his attitude and the way he was marshalling his team. He had that spark. And I told Yuvi to set up the meeting.” Sajdeh manages Kohli’s endorsement deals, along with those of other Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay. It was reported in 2013 that Kohli’s brand endorsements were worth over ₹1 billion (US$14 million). His bat deal with MRF is said to be the costliest deal in Indian cricket history. In 2017, he signed an eight-year endorsement deal with Puma worth about ₹1.1 billion (US$15 million), becoming the first Indian sportsperson to sign a ₹1 billion (US$14 million) deal with a brand.

In 2014, American Appraisal estimated Kohli’s brand value at US$56.4 million placing him fourth on the list of India’s most valued celebrity brands. The same year, UK-based magazine SportsPro rated Kohli as the second most marketable athlete in the world behind only Lewis Hamilton, placing him above the likes of Cristiano RonaldoLionel Messi and Usain Bolt. In an October 2016 report by Duff & Phelps on India’s most valued celebrity brands, Kohli’s brand value was estimated to be US$92 million, second only to that of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.

In 2017, Kohli was ranked 7th in the list released by Forbes as the Most Valuable Brand among athletes, ahead of sportspeople like Lionel MessiRory McIlroy and Stephen Curry, with an estimated brand value of $14.5 million. In 2018, Kohli was again listed 83 in the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world. In 2019, Kohli dropped 17 places to No. 100 on Forbes‘ World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” list, making him the only Indian and the only cricketer to feature in that list. His earnings were estimated at about $25 million, earning $21 million from endorsements and the rest from salary and winnings.

Charity and Service

 

In March 2013, Kohli started a charity foundation called Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF). The organisation aims at helping underprivileged kids and conducts events to raise funds for the charity. According to Kohli, the foundation works with select NGOs to “create awareness, seek support and raise funds for the various causes they endorse and the philanthropic work they engage in.”  In May 2014, eBay and Save the Children India conducted a charity auction with VKF, with its proceeds benefiting the education and healthcare of underprivileged children.

Kohli has captained the All Heart Football Club, owned by VKF, in charity football matches against All Stars Football Club, owned by Abhishek Bachchan‘s Playing for Humanity. The matches, known as “Celebrity Clasico”, feature cricketers playing for All Heart and Bollywood actors in the All Stars team, and are organized to generate funds for the two charity foundations.

To promote the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) which is aiming to achieve a cleaner India, he along with Anurag Sharma and the Indian team cleaned the Eden Gardens on Gandhi Jayanti of 2016. In 2018, he tweeted a video in which Anushka Sharma is seen stopping a man littering the street from their car.

Milkha Singh

Milkha Singh (birthdate uncertain, between 1929 and 1935), also known as The Flying Sikh, is an Indian former track and field sprinter who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He was the only Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games until Krishna Poonia won the discus gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The race for which Singh is best remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games, which he had entered as one of the favourites. He led the race till the 200m mark before easing off, allowing others to pass him. Various records were broken in the race, which required a photo-finish and saw American Otis Davis being declared the winner by one-hundredth of a second over German Carl Kaufmann. Singh’s fourth-place time of 45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years.

From beginnings that saw him orphaned and displaced during the Partition of India, Singh has become a sporting icon in his country. In 2008, journalist Rohit Brijnath described Singh as “the finest athlete India has ever produced”. In July 2012, The Independent said that “India’s most revered Olympian is a gallant loser”.

Early life

Milkha Singh was born on 21 November 1929 according to records in Pakistan, although other official records various state 17 October 1935 and 20 November 1935. He was born in a Rajput family of Rathore clan. His birthplace was Govindpura, a village 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Muzaffargarh city in Punjab ProvinceBritish India (now Muzaffargarh DistrictPakistan). He was one of 15 siblings, eight of whom died before the Partition of India. He was orphaned during the Partition, when his parents, a brother and two sisters were killed in the violence that ensued. He witnessed these killings.

Escaping the troubles in Punjab, where killings of Hindus and Sikhs were continuing, by moving to Delhi, India, in 1947, Singh lived for a short time with the family of his married sister and was briefly imprisoned at Tihar jail for travelling on a train without a ticket. His sister, Ishvar, sold some jewellery to obtain his release. He spent some time at a refugee camp in Purana Qila and at a resettlement colony in Shahdara, both in Delhi.

Singh became disenchanted with his life and considered becoming a dacoit but was instead persuaded by a brother, Malkhan, to attempt recruitment to the Indian Army. He successfully gained entrance on his fourth attempt, in 1951, and while stationed at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad he was introduced to athletics. He had run the 10 km distance to and from school as a child and was selected by the army for special training in athletics after finishing sixth in a compulsory cross-country run for new recruits. Singh has acknowledged how the army introduced him to sport, saying that “I came from a remote village, I didn’t know what running was, or the Olympics”.

International career

He represented India in the 200m and 400m competitions of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. His inexperience meant that he did not progress from the heat stages but a meeting with the eventual 400m champion at those Games, Charles Jenkins, both inspired him to greater things and provided him with information about training methods.

In 1958, Singh set records for the 200m and 400m in the National Games of India, held at Cuttack, and also won gold medals in the same events at the Asian Games. He then won a gold medal in the 400m (440 yards at this time) competition at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games with a time of 46.6 seconds. This latter achievement made him the first gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games from independent India. Before Vikas Gowda won the gold in 2014, Milkha was the only Indian male to have won an individual athletics gold medal at those Games.

Singh was persuaded by Jawaharlal Nehru to set aside his memories of the Partition era to race successfully in 1960 against Abdul Khaliq in Pakistan, where a post-race comment by the then General Ayub Khan led to him acquiring the nickname of The Flying Sikh. Some sources say that he set a world record of 45.8 seconds in France, shortly before the Rome Olympics in the same year but the official report of the Games lists the record holder as Lou Jones, who ran 45.2 at Los Angeles in 1956. At those Olympics, he was involved in a close-run final race in the 400m competition, where he was placed fourth. Singh had beaten all the leading contenders other than Otis Davis, and a medal had been anticipated because of his good form. However, he made an error when leading the race at 250m, slowing down in the belief that his pace could not be sustained and looking round at his fellow competitors. Singh believes that these errors caused him to lose his medal opportunity and they are his “worst memory”. Davis, Carl Kaufmann and Malcolm Spence all passed him, and a photo-finish resulted. Davis and Kaufman were both timed at a world-record breaking 44.9 seconds, while Spence and Singh went under the pre-Games Olympic record of 45.9 seconds, set in 1952 by George Rhoden and Herb McKenley, with times of 45.5 and 45.6 seconds, respectively. The Age noted in 2006 that “Milkha Singh is the only Indian to have broken an Olympic track record. Unfortunately he was the fourth man to do so in the same race” but the official Olympic report notes that Davis had already equalled the Rhoden/McKenley Olympic record in the quarter-finals and surpassed it with a time of 45.5 seconds in the semi-finals.

At the 1962 Asian Games, held in Jakarta, Singh won gold in the 400m and in the 4 x 400m relay. He attended the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he was entered to compete in the 400m, the 4 x 100m relay and the 4 x 400m relay. He did not take part in either the 400m or the 4 x 100m relay and the Indian team of Milkha Singh, Makhan Singh, Amrit Pal and Ajmer Singh were eliminated when they finished fourth in the heat stages of the 4 x 400m.

There have been claims that Singh won 77 of his 80 races, but these are spurious. The number of races in which he participated is not verified, nor is the number of victories, but he lost a 400m race at the 1964 National Games in Calcutta to Makhan Singh and he did not finish first in any of his four races at the 1960 Olympic Games or the aforementioned qualification races at the 1956 Olympics.

Singh’s time in the 1960 Olympics 400m final, which was run on a cinder track, set a national record that stood until 1998 when Paramjit Singh exceeded it on a synthetic track and with fully automatic timing that recorded 45.70 seconds. Although Singh’s Olympic result of 45.6 seconds had been hand-timed, an electronic system at those Games had determined his record to be 45.73.

Later life

Milkha Singh was promoted from the rank of sepoy to junior commissioned officer in recognition of his successes in the 1958 Asian Games. He subsequently became Director of Sports in Punjab Ministry of Education,[11] from which post he had retired by 1998.

Singh had been awarded the Padma Shri following his success in 1958. In 2001, he turned down an offer of the Arjuna Award from the Indian government, arguing that it was intended to recognise young sports people and not those such as him. He also thought that the Award was being inappropriately given to people who had little notable involvement as active sports people at all. He said that “I have been clubbed with sportspersons who are nowhere near the level that I had achieved” and that the award had become devalued. While sharing his wealth of experience in a college in Goa on 25 August 2014, he also said, “The awards nowadays are distributed like ‘prasad’ in a temple. Why should one be honoured when he or she has not achieved the benchmark for the award? I rejected the Arjuna I was offered after I received the Padma Shri. It was like being offered an SSC certificate after securing a Masters degree.

All of Singh’s medals have been donated to the nation. They were displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi but later moved to a sports museum in Patiala, where a pair of running shoes that he wore in Rome are also displayed.[24] In 2012, he donated the Adidas shoes that he had worn in the 1960 400m final to a charity auction organised by actor Rahul Bose.

Media and popular culture

Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life (2013). The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a 2013 biographical film of Singh’s life. The film is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and stars Farhan Akhtar in the lead role, and Divya Dutta and Sonam Kapoor in pivotal roles. The film was widely acclaimed in India and won awards including ‘Most Popular Film’ at National Film Awards, and 5 awards at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in 2014. The film made over Rs 100 crores. Singh sold the movie rights for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.

In September 2017, Singh’s wax statue – created by sculptors of Madame Tussauds in London – was unveiled at Chandigarh. It depicts Singh in running posture during his victorious run at the 1958 Commonwealth Games. The statue is placed at Madame Tussauds museum in New Delhi, India.

Family

As of 2012, Singh lives in Chandigarh. He met Nirmal Kaur, a former captain of the Indian women’s volleyball team in Ceylon in 1955. They married in 1962 and have three daughters and a son, the golfer Jeev Milkha Singh. In 1999, they adopted the seven-year-old son of Havildar Bikram Singh, who had died in the Battle of Tiger Hill.

Records and honours

Awards

S. No Medal Event Category
1 Gold 1958 Asian Games 200 M
2 Gold 1958 Commonwealth Games 440 Yards
3 Gold 1962 Asian Games 400 M
4 Gold 1962 Asian Games 4X400 M Relay
5 Silver 1964 Calcutta National Games 400 M[37]

Honours

S. No. Honour Year
1 Padma Shri 1959