Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul: Humans before heroes

As a tribute to the late cricket icon Shane Warne, photographer Colston Julian shares memories of his experiences with the Australian legend and our star athletes from India. Diving deep into the spirit of the sport, the love India has for the stars and what the cricket gods are like off-camera, Colston bares it all

k l rahul physique colston julian
k l rahul colston julian

KL Rahul

Since 2015, when I first worked with him, till now, he has come a long way — professionally and personally. Working with KL is like a breath of fresh air because most cricketers now want to be on the front foot and be a little aggressive. KL is different... he's strategic, calm, composed and soft. Over the years, this shy boy has blossomed into one of the mainstays of the Indian team. But what hasn't changed are his values and humility. He may be a star for the world, but if he sees you in a crowd or at an event, he will call out for you... he's that humble a boy.

virat kohli colston julian

Virat Kohli

virat kohli photoshoot colston julian

I have worked with Virat for over a decade, and have seen him transform from a young mischievous cricketer in the under-19 team to a doting husband and a loving father now. Virat has personally inspired me. A true leader, he has a certain aura and gets the best out of you no matter what the job is. Something that I find very rare is that Virat’s core human values always shine through even in the worst of situations. Through the years, he has remained unaffected by fame, doesn't come with a huge posse, and behind the aggressive athlete on the field, he’s the kindest person with the warmest heart.

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rohit sharma colston julian

Rohit Sharma

Rohit is worlds apart from what we see of him on and off the field. In reality, he’s extremely calm, strategic and shy, so much so that I remember thinking “how am I going to get this guy to be comfortable?” when we first shot together in 2010. Post-marriage and fatherhood, he has just assumed that leadership role. Over the 13 years I’ve known him, he’s grown as somebody who's been reserved and awkward to the confident and magnetic star he is today. I'm privileged to have seen him travel this journey so far.

hardik pandya colston julian feature

Hardik Pandya

hardik pandya colston julian

Playful, fun, mischievous... Hardik is as natural as it gets. Seeing him become such an amazing father and a family man has been heartwarming. More than the swagger of his personality, Hardik is someone who's genuinely worked hard to enjoy the life he has now. When it comes to the game, you have good days and bad days, but Hardik never takes a bad day out on anyone. Our new-age cricket team has now developed into a well-oiled machine that's ready to conquer the world, and as a cricket lover myself, I know that Hardik is an important cog of this wheel.

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shane warne photoshoot colston julian
shane warne tribute colston julian
shane warne face colston julian

Shane Warne

shane warne colston julian

The first, and sadly the only, time I shot with Shane was in 2010 when we did an American Beauty inspired shoot — where instead of roses, he’s lying on a bed of cricket balls. When Shane arrived, I realised he wasn't told about the concept and I was afraid it wasn't going to be easy to convince him. But as soon as we told him, he burst out laughing and did the shoot in typical Shane Warne style. Afterwards, he suggested, “Why don't we all grab a cup of coffee and eat something?” Personally, that's when you know that they appreciate and acknowledge your work and they want you to be taken care of. A few years later, I ran into him at an event and it was so unexpected for him to remember me.  “You are the guy who made me do the ball shot, right!” he said. I will always remember him as full of life, living in the moment and enjoying every single aspect of it

colston julian

Colston Julian: Colston confesses his true privilege in life has been to work with cricketers. HIs  most cherished possession? a cricket ball signed by shane Warne.

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