Driven: Stars come out in force for ‘The Virat Kohli Story’

It was meant to be Virat Kohli’s evening in the presence of an elite gathering. After all, he was the subject of a book titled ‘Driven – The Virat Kohli Story’ that was set to be launched.

Virat Kohli with team coach Anil Kumble, former cricketers Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Virender Sehwag, his coach Rajkumar Sharma and author of the book Vijay Lokapally.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

It was meant to be Virat Kohli’s evening in the presence of an elite gathering. After all, he was the subject of a book titled ‘Driven – The Virat Kohli Story’ that was set to be launched.

But before long, the Indian Test captain was to feel completely humbled by what followed. His eyes stayed firmly on the ground as some illustrious names from the cricketing world heaped lavish praise.

After all, it is not often that the likes of Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri and Virender Sehwag come together on a single platform to hail a ‘star’.

A man in form, Kohli has more than caught the imagination of the new generation of cricket lovers. From showing form to flair, from substance to style and from being another talented name to showing temperament of a champion, Kohli has come a long way.

Penned by Vijay Lokapally of The Hindu, the book traces Kohli’s journey from junior cricket to leading the team to success in Tests. Peppered with untold anecdotes, the 221-page book published by Bloomsbury provides insights into the making of a cricketer, a celebrity and an icon the nation loves.

“I feel blessed to be talked about in such vein by some of my cricketing icons. It is unbelievable… I can’t even say it’s a dream come true… because I never dreamt anything quite like this,” said Kohli.

When talking of Lokapally, the admiration and respect in Kohli’s voice was hard to miss. “I don’t think any journalist knows me better than Vijay Sir, who has seen me from my school days. I’ve started reading the book and trust me when I say, it is me. Just me.”

Moreover, the timing of the launch seemed just right. Fresh from scoring his highest score in Tests and playing a pivotal role in India’s triumph in the first one-dayer at Dharamshala, Kohli is clearly on a roll, in a year that has seen him excel in all three formats.

In the presence of Abbas Ali Beg, Chetan Chauhan, Aunshuman Gaekwad, Ajay Jadeja, Ashish Nehra, Anjum Chopra, Murali Kartik, Gursharan Singh, Sunil Valson, Vivek Razdan, Vijay Dahiya, the two current National selectors, Sarandeep Singh and Gagan Khoda, besides several Ranji Trophy cricketers and mediapersons, the book was officially launched.

In the on-stage discussion that followed, Kohli could be seen dealing with some degree of embarrassment as heaps of praise came from Kapil, Shastri, Kumble, Sehwag and coach Rajkumar Sharma who chose to share what they thought made Kohli a cut above the rest.

Needless to emphasis, they all felt that Kohli was no ordinary talent. His work ethics and growth of maturity along the way had shaped his path of success.

Sehwag shared his first impression of Kohli. “Pradeep Sangwan told me there was a youngster (Kohli) who, though small in frame, is a strong batsman. He can even surpass you.”

Kapil and Shastri were in agreement in maintaining that Kohli had set the “bar very high.”

“He leads from the front and takes responsibility for the losses,” declared Shastri, the Director of the Indian team before Kumble was formally appointed the Chief coach this summer.

Finally, Lokapally signed off by saying, “The book is about making of Virat and it’s my attempt to follow the trajectory of his rise.”

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