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Playing the Insta game

Like politicians and film stars, sportspersons of India too have taken to Instagram to give us a sneak peak of their lives beyond the time we see them on the field

Gone are the days when people used to follow newspapers and television channels to know what’s happening in the lives of their favourite sports stars. Now everything they do, can be viewed on Instagram. From announcing weddings to giving an insight to preparations before a big game, fans can literally get a sneak peak of what is happening in their lives.

Insta leader

Just like he leads his cricket teams, Virat Kohli is the leader when it comes to Instagram. He has 32 million followers — the top score for any Indian celebrity. He has more followers than the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and his count even surpasses that of PM Narendra Modi. So, what does he do to garner such a following?

If there’s anyone who knows how to use Instagram as an endorsement tool, it is Kohli. Every now and then, he posts something related to his own clothing brand Wrogn and the different brands he endorses. So his feed looks like a string of ads of brands like Samsonite and Adidas. In fact, just after the six consecutive losses he suffered with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kohli posted a photo of himself partying with the energy drink he endorses, with the caption “High on Energy”. This invited a lot of criticism, with fans questioning Kohli’s commitment towards his IPL team.

In fact, the other thing that attracts a lot of likes and comments, are his photos with wife Anushka Sharma. Both of them posted a photo on their respective Instagram profiles to announce their marriage to the public. Every now and then Kohli posts photos with his wife which always break the internet. Also, Kohli once posted a video of his wife in a heated argument with someone who littered the street, wherein he wrote a long post on how we should not litter. This post also created a lot of controversy on social media.

Away from his controversial posts, Kohli also tends to post preparatory photos and videos from the India and RCB camp, thus giving sports fans a real insight as to what goes on behind the scenes in a match.

Proud father

A glance through ex-India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s profile and all one will come across is his playtime with daughter Ziva. His Instagram feed is literally filled with posts that are dedicated to his father-daughter time with his three-year-old. In a recent post, he is seen teaching the toddler how to say ‘hello’ in different Indian languages, it garnered more than five million likes in less than a week. From playing with his daughter on beaches to having a gala time with her before a match, Dhoni’s Instagram feed is all about his daughter, as he seldom posts anything related to the game of cricket — excluding some post-match fun in the dressing room time and again.

#glamourous

The most followed non-cricketing Indian sportsperson on Instagram is tennis sensation Sania Mirza, with 5.3 million followers. However, her posts are never related to tennis.

Her profile looks more like a showcase of her collection of clothes, and portrays more of her glamorous avatar, a far cry from the decorated tennis legend that she is.

Her close friendship with the likes of Parineeti Chopra and Farah Khan, is also visible from her profile as she regularly goes on outings with her two ‘besties’ as her posts seem to suggest.

When Mirza was away from the game for the past number of months due to her pregnancy, she constantly posted pictures so that fans could stay updated about her during this period of time. Now, after she gave birth to her son, like MS Dhoni, she too posts a lot of pictures of her little one and the time she spends with him, which won over all of her followers.

Recently she posted a picture of her first tennis training session post the birth of her son, thus announcing her return to the game.

Love for the game

“My life revolves around shuttling between taking the field for India and Bengaluru FC. Couldn’t have had it better”— reads the Instagram bio of India’s football captain Sunil Chhetri. And his profile is an exact reflection of this.

Chhetri’s profile is all about his preparations before matches and training sessions for both India and Bengaluru FC. He regularly poses for pictures with his teammates, both club and country.

But what really sets his profile apart, is the constant videos he posts to show his support with everything that happens in Indian football. From supporting the under-17 boys to remembering the unsung heroes of Indian football, he bares his heart.

The video that won over the internet was when he pledged all fans of football — Indians who support big European clubs — to come to the stadium and support them, shout for them in the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai. The video went viral, and the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai literally was filled to the brim with fans from all over the country coming out in support for the Indian football team. Such was the power of his video.