The COVID-19 pandemic caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Across the world and to varying degrees, sports events were cancelled or postponed. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were rescheduled to 2021. Spectators didn't have games to watch and players no games to play.
With the suspension of sports, our athletes could find out significant time and engaged in other activities which the world watched and which turned out to be superbly entertaining. Here's a look at the list of most entertaining athletes of the year:
Virat Kohli's LIVE with Sunil Chhetri
Virat Kohli and Sunil Chhetri, the two skippers of India's cricket and football teams respectively, are two of the most loved sportspersons in the country. So it is no surprise that when the two, who are known to be good friends, went live on Instagram for a chat, it generated a lot of buzz and excitement among fans of both sports. As Kohli and Chhetri - both of who grew up in New Delhi - discussed their teenage years and how they would travel in the city for their training.
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) May 18, 2020
Chhetri decided to tease Kohli further as he reminded the Indian cricket team captain how Anushka "watches entire Test matches even when he isn't batting" but he could not even stay awake for one of her shoots.
Kohli replied that his flight landed in the night and he was jet-lagged. However, Kohli's answer was interrupted by Anushka as she called him "jhootha (liar)". Anushka's voice came from behind the camera.
Jemimah and Smriti in Double Trouble
While India women cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana couldn't swing their blades in a competitive field, they were having fun by co-hosting virtual show Double Trouble. Jemimah's video chat show on YouTube, Double Trouble, which she hosted along with teammate Smriti Mandhana was a sixer of sorts.
I love the energy and honesty Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues bring to this show where they are interviewing P V Sindhu. Very refreshing and a very different point of view! https://t.co/aVv89XLV5L
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) April 24, 2020
The duo's guests were not restricted to cricket, and included world champion shuttler PV Sindhu, tennis star Sania Mirza, hockey stalwarts Sardar Singh and PR Sreejesh, 21-time world champion cueist Pankaj Advani, shooter Apurvi Chandela, former World No. 1 archer Deepika Kumari, squash stars Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal. From cricket, there was Rohit Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Poonam Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jhulan Goswami and Shikhar Dhawan. Jemima's brother Enoch was editor on the show where the two cricketers bowled googlies and bouncers.
Dipa Karmakar and Leander Paes in Kaun Banega Crorepati
Tennis legend Leander Paes and ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar were the guests on Amitabh Bachchan-hosted TV show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati's 12th episode. Dressed in ethnic wear, they rang in the Diwali fever with Big B on the upcoming Karamveer special episode of KBC. The duo took the special guests down the memory lane, getting them to recount the experience of their maiden victory, their achievements, their challenges and their milestones.
— NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) November 13, 2020
The episode also witnessed a fun rapid-fire round which would see Big B getting Paes and Karmakar to open up about their favourite sports personality, their cheat day meals, toughest opponents, toughest part about training and more.
R Ashwin as a YouTuber
R Ashwin, the senior Indian spinner started a YouTube channel in April, where he posted videos reminiscing iconic cricket matches from the past. Soon after, he began interacting with his teammates, former cricketers and other names from the cricketing fraternity in live sessions posted on his Instagram handle. These were also posted on YouTube.
When Rohit Sharma went back to the dressing room after scoring his first ODI double hundred, his team-mates wanted him to have scored more and break Virender Sehwag's then record for the highest ODI score
Talk about lofty expectations!
(via: R Ashwin/Youtube) pic.twitter.com/XW11AY8cN9
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) May 19, 2020
In a video celebrating 100,000 subscribers, Ashwin said, “I started this YouTube channel and started producing this content for all of you. I think all of you are enjoying. In fact, my thought process was that there was a lot of negativity going on because of the lockdown. The coronavirus had struck us really strongly. So I thought I’d spread some positivity.”
Ashwin said that the positive response on his videos had made him feel like ‘welling up at times’. He called his channel ‘AshTube’, and said the subscribers were as close to him as his family.