Despite the ongoing controversy regarding the resignation of the former Indian cricket team coach Anil Kumble, the popularity of Virat Kohli continues to grow. The Indian cricket team captain has now become the second most followed Indian on Facebook with over 35 million followers to his name. He surpassed many Indian celebrities like Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra to reach that spot. Virat Kohli who is currently in West Indies to lead the Indian side in a 5 match ODI series is now just behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi among Indians in terms of the number of followers. Some of Kohli’s posts on the social media websites have got a lot of likes and comments.
Ever since Sachin Tendulkar retired from International cricket, Virat Kohli has been the poster boy of the Indian cricket team. He has broken many records on his way to greatness and is already a modern day legend. He led India to the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings this year after winning back to back home series against Bangladesh, New Zealand, England and Australia. Since 2014, Virat Kohli has turned into a brand and has endorsed brands like Pepsi, Audi, Tissot, MRF, Punjab National Bank, American Tourister, Nitesh Estates and Manyavar, among others. Kohli is in a unique position as he is a clear number one in terms of sporting icons currently; hence his brand endorsement kitty is only expected to increase further.
However, the Indian captain doesn’t shy away from setting an example for others. Recently, Virat Kohli decided not to renew his six-year multi-crore deal with PepsiCo saying that he will only endorse products that he consumes or can relate to. Kohli who is carrying the baton of fitness in the Indian team decided against extending his contract due to his fitness regime. “If I myself won’t consume such things, I won’t urge others to consume it, just because I am getting money out of it,” said Kohli in an interview with CNN-IBN. “When I started my fitness turnaround, it was more of a lifestyle thing initially. If something goes away from that, I would not want to be a part of that or be promoting that,” he added.
Kohli’s popularity is not just limited India but he is seen as an icon even in other countries. In Pakistan, Virat Kohli has over a million followers which is a big thing given the rivalry between the two nations. Among the global celebs, Virat Kohli is now at the 52nd spot. British band Coldplay tops the list with over 39 million followers, followed by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
After a good ICC Champions Trophy, where the Indian team went on to play the final, Virat Kohli had also retained the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings. He is currently ahead of the South African captain AB de Villiers by four points. Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team is placed on the third spot.