The Indian team has become a formidable force in the last decade. They stand second in ODIs and sit comfortably at top of test rankings. The Virat Kohli-led side has induced an aggressive brand of cricket in the new generation. Cricketers have become role models and inspirations for youth in this country.
With a lot of media attention, every inch of personal and professional lives of modern cricketers is observed and judged. More than 200 players have represented India in Tests and ODIs. Few of their careers have been showered with love and affection, few have been marred with controversies.
Here we look at 5 most loved Indian cricketers:
Zaheer Khan. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Without a doubt, Zaheer Khan was India’s greatest pacer in the 21st century. A Test series victory in England and the World Cup 2011 triumph were Zaheer’s top career moments. From leaking 15 runs in the first over of 2003 World Cup final to the highest wicket-taker in 2011 World Cup, Zak was part of India’s all highs and lows.
The pacer made his debut in ICC Knockout Cup 2000 against Kenya alongside Yuvraj Singh. Later on, the trio of Javagal Srinath, Zaheer and Ashish Nehra were fundamental in Indian cricket’s giant leap under Sourav Ganguly. Zaheer took over 600 international wickets and more than 100 IPL wickets.
He was always away from any controversy; on and off the field. ‘Zak is back’ was the headline everyone always cherished. He announced retirement in 2015 but not before picking a five-fer in his final Test innings against New Zealand. No wonder he is the first on this list as Zaheer Khan concentrated on his game more often than not and stayed away from other irrelevant things.
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Twitter)
From getting mocked and trolled to shutting down the ‘bits and pieces’ jibe; Ravindra Jadeja’s entertaining cameos has made him a star all-rounder. Jadeja may have debuted in 2009 but inconsistency and lack of match-winning performances kept him in and out of the national team. Until his three triple centuries in Ranji trophy in the 2011-12 season, the 30-year-old was known for his outstanding control of line and length.
Jadeja made a comeback to the team as a batting all-rounder, but on turning tracks in the subcontinent he partnered with Ravi Ashwin and helped India become the number one team. Jadeja also achieved the number one spot in ODI and Test bowlers rankings. He is certainly the best fielder in the Indian team and has the knack of turning the game with his fielding.
He had a tough childhood; his father was a watchman, and he lost his mother in an accident. His sister supported him to keep playing cricket. Even after achieving success in IPL and international cricket, he has kept his feet firm on the ground. ‘Sir’ Jadeja’s incredible all-round show in the 2019 World Cup semi-final proved that he is the real 3D player.
Suresh Raina. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Born in Ghaziabad, Suresh Raina’s gracious and welcoming attitude is admired by one and all. Brought in by former coach Greg Chappell, Raina went on to become one of India’s finest white-ball players. Playing for CSK since 2008, he is the most capped player in the history of IPL!
The southpaw has played several attractive innings over the course of his decade long international career, but his cameos of 34 and 36 in 2011 World Cup knockouts will remain memorable. In his prime, Raina was a gun fielder and orchestrated plenty of match-changing moments. The left-hander has scored in excess of 5000 runs in IPL, just behind Virat Kohli.
The 32-year-old was exposed to short pitch deliveries and therefore his international career was cut down. In 2017 he and his wife, Priyanka established “Gracia Raina Foundation’ for empowering women and improving their health and reproductive issues. Raina’s warm attitude towards juniors and opposition has made him a doting personality among fans.
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Twitter)
It’s been just three years since Jasprit Bumrah made his international debut, and he has already become India’s greatest death bowler. No other bowler in the world can boast of such kind of stellar resume. Such is his impact; the entire nation was worried when he got injured in the world cup match against Bangladesh. He is probably India’s biggest match-winner with the ball in recent times.
The 25-year-old is Kohli’s premier bowler in any format and any conditions. The Gujarat-born pacer is prominent for his pinpoint yorkers and skiddy bouncers. He has learned the craft of bowling from his Mumbai Indians teammate, Lasith Malinga and has added new variations into his armoury.
Bumrah has now emerged in Test cricket as well, with 49 wickets in just 10 matches. The right-arm pacer is the leader of India’s pace bowling attack and forms a deadly trio with Shami and Ishant. At any stage in the match, Bumrah carries the hope and expectation of millions, and he rarely disappoints.
Rahul Dravid 2002 Adelaide Test. (Photo by Tony Lewis/Getty Images)
Rahul Dravid was not only one of the greatest batsman, but a respected human being as well. Without a doubt, the most respected cricketer in this country. “The Wall” is truly an ambassador of the gentleman’s game. Grit, determination and perseverance were hallmarks of Rahul Dravid’s splendid career. On innumerable occasions, he shielded the middle-order from a collapse against the most deadly bowlers with the new ball.
In a lustrous career expanding for about a decade and a half, Dravid score over 13000 Test and 10000 ODI runs. He led India to Test series victories in England and West Indies. In the humiliating tour to England in 2011, Dravid scored 3 centuries when no other Indian could score a single hundred. His three consecutive sixes in his debut T20I against England were a moment of bliss for cricket fans.
The 46-year-old has now taken up the duty of the youth team and last year under Dravid’s guidance India won the Under-19 World Cup as well. Dravid’s career aptly justifies the truism, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Rahul Dravid has zero haters. Period.
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