India skipper Virat Kohli led his team to the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings and also found himself on top of Yahoo’s list of most searched sports people in 2017. The 29-year-old’s exploits on and off the field also saw him make it to the fifth spot among Yahoo’s India’s Most Searched Personality. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Yahoo India’s Most Searched Personality in 2017.
Virat Kohli had a phenomenal run with the bat in 2017 where he scored more than 1000 runs in Tests, 1460 runs in ODIs and 299 runs in T20 Internationals. In total, he accumulated a stunning 2818 international runs in the calendar year. With this, he is now third on the list of most runs by a batsman in a calendar year across all formats. In the same year, he hit 11 centuries and three double hundreds. This saw him leapfrog from the fifth spot to the second position in ICC’s Test rankings for batsmen this year. As captain, he led his side from the front as India enjoyed a magnificent 2016/17 season at home, courtesy of which they retained their No. 1 spot in the latest ICC Test rankings. Earlier, in 2016, the likes of PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar stole the limelight. But this year it was Kohli’s turn to wrest the attention.
Kohli is followed by MS Dhoni who occupied the second spot. MS Dhoni came to the forefront when a few days before the IPL he was stripped of his captaincy and Steve Smith was made skipper. Controversial remarks from Harsh Goenka, brother of RPS owner Sanjeev Goenka added further fuel to fire. Twitterati, in particular, was incensed when Harsh said that the decision to replace Dhoni with Smith was absolutely correct. In 2017, the BCCI also nominated Dhoni for Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian award. A few days ago Dhoni was once again in the limelight when he was cleared for a return to the Chennai Super Kings. This news was received with a lot of jubilation by fans of CSK as their favourite son is all set to don the yellow outfit in 2018.
After a commendable performance in 2016, World No 3 PV Sindhu continued her progress in the 2017 calendar year. While she did suffer a few losses, the 22-year-old won three SuperSeries titles this year. Sindhu won the Syed Modi International after defeating Gregoria Mariska. While in the India Open she won against arch-rival Carolina Marin. Later on, she defeated Nozomi Okuhara to become the first Indian to win the Korea Open. Sindhu also secured the silver medal at the 2017 BWF World Championship.
At number 4 is veteran Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir who earned a reputation for his strong stance on a variety of social issues. With his unwavering love for the army, the southpaw took to Twitter and aired his views. He backed paramilitary personnel after a video on social media showed that they were manhandled by Kashmiri youths.
“Whoever wants freedom for Kashmir can leave the country,” he said. He also spoke on the national anthem debate and questioned the Indian citizens if standing for 52 seconds was tough. Gambhir had also received plaudits when he announced that he will fund the education of slain Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Abdul Rashid’s daughter.
Following the dramatic exit of Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri was appointed as the head coach of Team India. However, the nomination gathered a lot of unwanted media attention as it came after much drama. This was after the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) interviewed several top candidates and then announced that the name will be revealed only after a discussion with skipper Virat Kohli. However, the news was already broken by several media outlets. The BCCI, in a damage control mode, first denied the reports but later on during the same day confirmed it.
Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur’s popularity soared after the Indian women’s team put up a spirited performance in the ICC Women’s World Cup. Deservedly they occupy the sixth and seventh spot. While Raj became the highest run-scorer in women’s cricket during the tournament, Harmanpreet smashed a blitzkrieg 171 which helped India knock out firm favourites Australia in the semis. Her innings was touted as the greatest knock since Kapil Dev’s famed 175 in 1983. Meanwhile, Mithali Raj led her side to the finals of the World Cup where India lost to England by a margin of just nine runs.
S Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan culminate the list of top 10. While Sreesanth once again trended after the Kerala High Court restored the life ban imposed on him by the BCCI. Uthappa’s sensational switch from Karnataka to Saurashtra also grabbed headlines. However, Sreesanth deemed the verdict as the worst decision ever. The 34-year-old later went on to say that he would approach the Supreme Court in order to lift the life ban imposed on him.
Meanwhile, Baroda speedster Irfan Pathan is the last name on the list of sportspersons. Pathan, who was once labelled as the next big thing in Indian cricket saw his career take a downward curve since the start of the year. In the IPL he wasn’t picked by any franchise at the auctions before Gujarat Lions picked him during the tournament, while in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season he was dropped after just two matches. Adding insult to injury, he was also stripped of the captaincy and dropped from the Baroda side thereafter. Not among the ones to keep quiet, Pathan later took a dig at the selectors when he tweeted, ‘Not wishing Good Morning & not being a YES man to ur boss can go against u…but don’t bother, keep doing ur work .”