- Full Name: Virat Kohli
- Country: India
- Other names: Chiku
- Role – Batsman
- Born – 05th November 1988
- Age – 28 years
- Batting Style – Right-hand bat
- Bowling Style – Right-arm medium
Virat Kohli is an Indian international cricketer who currently captains the India national team. A right-handed batsman, often regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world.
Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi into a Punjabi family. His father, Prem Kohli, worked as a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, is a housewife. He has an elder brother, Vikash, and an elder sister, Bhavna. According to his family, when he was three-years old, Kohli would pick up a cricket bat, start swinging it and ask his father to bowl at him.
Born and raised in Delhi, Kohli represented the city’s cricket team at various age-group levels before making his first-class debut in 2006. He captained India Under 19’s to victory at the 2008 U-19 World Cup in Malaysia, and a few months later, made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19. Initially having played as a reserve batsman in the Indian team, he soon established himself as a regular in the ODI middle-order and was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in 201 and shrugged off the tag of “ODI specialist” by 2013 with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa.Having reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time in 2013, Kohli also found success in the format, winning the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016). In 2014, he became the top-ranked T20I batsman in the ICC rankings and holds the position, as of May 2017.
Kohli has been the recipient of many awards such as the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012 and the BCCI’s international cricketer of the year for the 2011–12 and 2014–15 seasons. In 2013, he was given the Arjuna Award in recognition of his achievements in international cricket. Alongside his cricket career, Kohli co-owns FC Goa in the ISL, the IPLT franchise UAE Royals and the PWL team Bengaluru Yodhas. He also has other business ventures and over 20 brand endorsements; his brand value in 2016 was estimated to be US$92 million, placing him second on the list of India’s most valued celebrity brands.
Since 2013, Kohli has been in a relationship with Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma. The relationship has attracted substantial media attention.
Kohli has admitted that he is superstitious. He wears black wristbands as a cricket superstition; earlier, he used to wear the same pair of gloves with which he had “been scoring”. Apart from a religious black thread, he has also been wearing a kara on his right arm since 2012.
Kohli was signed up by sports agent Bunty Sajdeh of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment after the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Sajdeh recalls, “I didn’t go after them after they became stars. In fact, I watched Virat at the 2008 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. I was mighty impressed with his attitude and the way he was marshaling his team. He had that spark. And I told Yuvi to set up the meeting. Sajdeh manages Kohli’s endorsement deals, along with those of other Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay. It was reported in 2013 that Kohli’s brand endorsements were worth over ₹100 crore. His bat deal with MRF is said to be the costliest deal in Indian cricket history.In 2017, he signed an eight-year endorsement deal with Puma worth about ₹110 crore, becoming the first Indian sportsperson to sign a ₹100 crore deal with a brand.
In 2014, American Appraisal estimated Kohli’s brand value at US$56.4 million placing him fourth on the list of India’s most valued celebrity brands. The same year, UK-based magazine SportsPro rated Kohli as the second most marketable athlete in the world behind only Lewis Hamilton, placing him above the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Usain Bolt. In an October 2016 report by Duff & Phelps on India’s most valued celebrity brands, Kohli’s brand value was estimated to be US$92 million, second only to that of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
As of March 2016, Kohli has endorsement deals with 13 brands: Adidas, Audi, Boost, Colgate-Palmolive, Herbalife, MRF, Nitesh Estates, PepsiCo, Smaash, Tissot, TVS Motors, United Spirits, and Vicks. The brands Kohli previously endorsed include 3C Company, Celkon Mobiles, Cinthol (from Godrej), Clear (from Unilever), Fair & Lovely, Fastrack (from Titan), Flying Machine, Mattel, Munch (from Nestle), Oakley, Red Chief Shoes, Royal Challenge (from United Breweries), Sangam Suitings and Toyota Motors.
In March 2013, Kohli started a charity foundation called Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF). The organization aims at helping underprivileged kids and conducts events to raise funds for the charity. According to Kohli, the foundation works with select NGOs to “create awareness, seek support and raise funds for the various causes they endorse and the philanthropic work they engage in. In May 2014, eBay and Save the Children India conducted a charity auction with VKF, with its proceeds benefiting the education and healthcare of underprivileged children.
Kohli has captained the All Heart Football Club, owned by VKF, in charity football matches against All Stars Football Club, owned by Abhishek Bachchan’s Playing for Humanity. The matches, known as “Celebrity Clasico”, feature cricketers playing for All Heart and Bollywood actors in the All Stars team, and are organized to generate funds for the two charity foundations.