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‘Virat Kohli as popular as SRK, Amitabh Bachchan in Pakistan’: Ex-skipper sings praise of India star

‘Virat Kohli as popular as SRK, Amitabh Bachchan in Pakistan’: Ex-skipper sings praise of India star

In spite of Virat Kohli being the cause of sorrow for Pakistan during IND vs PAK match in the recent past, Latif claimed Kohli's popularity in the country can only be compared to Bollywood stars.

Generational cricketers have a way of garnering support from the most unlikely sources. When Sachin Tendulkar used to bat, viewership of most cricket playing nations used to be at an all-time high. In today’s generation, Virat Kohli commands that kind of popularity. According to former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif, Virat Kohli is as popular in Pakistan as some of the biggest Bollywood stars.

In spite of Virat Kohli being the cause of sorrow for Pakistan during IND vs PAK match in the recent past, Latif claimed Kohli’s popularity in the country can only be compared to Bollywood stars.

It’s not like that Virat is the first one with such a big fan base in Pakistan. If you go back, Dilip Kumar had a massive fan following in Pakistan. Sunil Gavaskar became a cult in Pakistan. Young batsmen were told to copy Gavaskar sahab’s technique. Then Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘angry young man’ movies used to get sold out. Then came Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, MS Dhoni. When Dhoni came here his long locks became a trend,” Latif told The Indian Express.

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But Virat’s popularity in Pakistan is on par with Dilip sahab, Mr. Bachchan and Shah Rukh. Like in India, you guys loved our bowlers – Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar became household names. Here in Pakistan, we adored Gavaskar sahab, Tendulkar, then Dhoni and now Kohli – they are all icons. Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag too have a good fan following in Pakistan. But all said and done, the mad-craze over Virat is another level,” he added.

Virat Kohli against Pakistan

In spite of receiving all this love from Pakistan, Virat Kohli hasn’t spared the nation whenever the two sides have met in the past. In 10 T20Is since 2012, Virat has scored 488 runs against the nation at a staggering average of over 81. Will we see another Kohli-masterclass in the IND vs PAK in T20 World Cup 2024?

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