ico-h1 CRICKET BOOKS

Virat: The Making of a Champion

Published: 2019
Pages: 184
Author: Jha, Neeraj and Kumar, Vidhanshu
Publisher: Hachette
Rating: 3 stars

Virat

Log onto Amazon (an e-commerce website) and type Virat Kohli under the books department. What you see next will be around six books on and about Virat Kohli. It has been eleven years since Kohli first played for India and in all those years’ thousands and thousands of words has been written about him. Until he plays his last ball in international cricket we will see more and more books published on Kohli and now is a good time for writers to cash in with an update on his playing career. The latest to join the bandwagon is Virat: The Making of a Champion.

After reading the book, I did a survey on Kohli. The question asked was “what comes to your mind when I say Virat Kohli? The following were the most popular:-

Phenomenal

Sensational

Arrogant

Legend

Relentless

Class

Aggressive

Passionate

Run-machine.

The word that sums up Kohli is passionate, and that is what makes a true champion. As the title says, Virat: The Making of a Champion.

Co-authored by media professionals Neeraj Jha and Vidhanshu Kumar the book is a decent read. Jha and Kumar have seen the rise of Kohli from close quarters and have done well to put his upsurge in words.

The book is written in a simple manner, which makes it an easy read. It reminds me of my English textbook in school. Just like my textbook it carries a pop-up box with quotes on Kohli from his teammates or ex-cricketers and, after every two or three pages, you see facts and figures from his career. I like the way the authors have used this method for feeding extra information to their readers.

But what is absent from the book is the use of pictures of the modern great and those few photographs you see are black and white.

Extensive research by the authors has helped them to trace Kohli’s journey from being a chubby naughty boy to being Brand Kohli. They spoke to Kohli’s coach, Rajkumar Sharma, and his former teammates Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra. West Indian great Vivian Richards and former Australian skipper Michael Clarke were interviewed as well. The book has some interesting stories and insights into the life of a boy who just wanted to play. What is missing from the book however is any direct interaction with the subject, something which would have given readers one more reason to read about Indian skipper.

The first part of the book takes us through the journey of how Kohli, the boy who wanted to be the best, arrived where he is. Coach Rajkumar says; As a player he looked so good for his age. What stood out was that he was not afraid of anyone and was willing to play the seniors from day one. He was confident and had tremendous self-belief.

Kohli’s self-belief and the runs he scored at junior level were enough for him to find a place in Delhi’s       star-studded Ranji Trophy team. His teammates included Gautam Gambhir, Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Ashish Nehra and Virender Sehwag.

Sharp-eyed Nehra knew that the youngster was going to make it big. He says; what I liked the most was his resolve to always do well, whether it was his batting, fielding or training he always came to it with the utmost intensity and determination.

It was 19th December 2006 when everything changed for Virat Kohli, the son and the cricketer. That day he lost his father, closest friend, guide and mentor. He was still out there under the scorching heat battling out for his team. He wanted to play, he wanted to fulfil his father’s dream. He knew his team needed him.

The then Delhi coach Chetan Chauhan was amazed at Virat’s dedication. He said; we were all amazed to see him getting ready to bat. That was just a glimpse of Virat Kohli as a great cricketer in the making. His decision showed how mentally strong he is. He was determined to take the team to safety. Hats off to his attitude and determination. This dedication and passion to play the sport at the highest level made Kohli, what he is today.

Virat: The Making of a Champion offers its readers minute details of Kohli’s rapid journey to the national side. In 2008, the U-19 ICC World Cup victory was another life-changing moment and a turning point in Kohli’s career. In the same year he made it to the national side and in his debut series against Sri Lanka he scored 159 runs in five games.

The boy had his eyes on the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. He wanted to be in that tournament and he did enough to find a spot in the team. To start off the series Kohli was in the runs, scoring his first World Cup hundred against Bangladesh in the opening match. In the final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium Kohli scored a crucial 35 runs, building a partnership with Gautam Gambhir as India went onto to win the their second World Cup.

During the victory lap Kohli carried his childhood idol and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders and in doing so showed the world what Tendulkar meant to him. Kohli said; he carried the burden of the nation for twenty-one years, so it is time we carried him on our shoulders.

The second part of the book moves on to deal with the Virat Kohli who was ready to carry the burden of the nation and how he has done so. The boy who is hungry for the challenges.

The book is not just restricted to Virat Kohli the cricketer but also leads us into how Virat Kohli is a fitness icon for youngsters. The book carries a complete page of Kohli’s fitness mantras, a must read if one wants to be like Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli is not just a name, it is a brand. It is a brand which symbolizes the spirit of youth. Bunty Sajdeh, founder of a sports management company says; Virat does not mince his words ever. This is something the young of today admire and appreciate. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is never afraid to call a spade a spade.”

This book might also interest gossipmongers who are on the hunt to know about Kohli and his wife and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma. From the beginning till the end.

Virat: The Making of a Champion contains almost everything, his childhood, U-19 days, debut for India, champion of limited overs cricket, style icon, the businessman, but with less focus on his early days in Test cricket. At the end the authors talk about his highs and lows in Test cricket in South Africa, England and Australia as a batsman and as a captain.

There is a typographical error which caught my eyes, the book stating that Rahul Dravid scored a century in Johannesburg in 1977. Dravid was just 4-years old in 1977. It was in 1997 Dravid scored a hundred in Johannesburg. I hope in the second edition, if it ever comes out, the error will be rectified and we will get to read more about Kohli in whites for India.

Otherwise, it is a must-read for all Kohli lovers and for the ones who are obsessed with tattoos.

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