Indian cricket has witnessed many great players in the last hundred years or so. But only a few of them have gone on to attain an absolute cult status among the Indian fans. Here, we shall look at three such players who went on to become the most popular among all and became absolute fan favorites over the years.
The Indian all-rounder became the most talked about player during the 1980s. Kapil Dev led India to the 1983 World Cup title, beating the mighty West Indies in the final. He also earned the epithet of the ‘Haryana Hurricane’ during his career owing to his swashbuckling batting style. Dev scored 175* in the same World Cup against Zimbabwe to set the world record for the highest individual score in one day internationals.
Dev played a total of 131 Tests and 225 ODIs during his career, scoring 5248 and 3783 runs in the two formats respectively. That also includes eight Test centuries, one ODI century and a total of 41 fifties. Dev also finished with 434 Test wickets to his name, which is the highest number of wickets claimed by an Indian pacer in the format. He snared 253 wickets in ODIs as well.
He made his international debut as a 16-year-old and went on to be called as the ‘God of cricket’ in what turned out to be a marathon 24 years long career. Tendulkar broke and set many batting records in these two-and-a-half-decades and became a figure who was worshiped by the Indian fans.
The ‘Master Blaster’ became the heartbeat of an entire nation and he finished his career as the highest run-scorer in both Test and ODI cricket with 15921 and 18426 runs to his name respectively. Tendulkar also holds the record for being the only player to score 100 international hundreds. He was also the first player to score a double ton in ODIs. A World Cup kept eluding Tendulkar throughout his career but India finally won it towards the twilight of his career in 2011. He retired from all cricket in 2013, but he is still a popular figure among the Indian fans.
It was hard to imagine that any Indian cricketer would go on to attain the same place and popularity among the Indian fans as Sachin Tendulkar. But Virat Kohli has won over the hearts of the Indian fans in the same way with his batting exploits over the years.
Kohli arrived at the international scene for India in 2009 and he has gone on to become a pillar of the Indian batting line-up since then. He is just 33 years old right now, yet he has over 12000 ODI runs, more than 8000 Test runs and a total of 71 international centuries.
He is currently tied with former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting for scoring the second most number of international centuries. Only Tendulkar is ahead of them with 100 international hundreds. Kohli is supremely fit right now and can be expected to continue playing at the highest level for the next five years at least.