When you consider that the most played and watched sport in India, a nation of over 1.25 Billion people is cricket, then to be the captain of the national team brings a whole heap of responsibility on your shoulders. Also add more than a hint of romance with a superstar from the Bollywood scene, Anushka Sharma, and the media storm and social media stirrings that this on-off romance creates and you will have found yourself getting more attention down to a miniscule level than anyone would care for.
Virat Kohli at just 28 years of age is the man with this burden and he is handling it like the consummate professional he is.
Blessed with movie star good looks and a cricketing record that places him in the top 10 sportsmen in the world (that is in all sports, not just cricket – ESPN have him one place behind Tiger Woods in the ‘Most Recognised Sports Person’ category) Virat Kohli also has managed to find the time to appear in numerous photo shoots, manage a nationwide fitness chain, create a new brand of designer clothing (WROGN – Be Your Own Hero) all alongside numerous part-owner stakes in a wide range of companies…the man even invests a huge chunk of his time, effort and money to help under privileged children with his Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF). You have to ask, how the hell does he manage all this and still find time for cricket?
But it is cricket that is still his number one passion. His records, awards and statistics speak for themselves and his attitude to his chosen sport of, ‘Eat, sleep, train, repeat’ has enabled him to ease past his peers to be compared to, and many commentators say surpass, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
Virat’s confidence seems to ooze from his pores in all of his undertakings; his eyes dart mischievously as if on the search for a new challenge and I am sure that as they rove across the huge hoardings where he is prominently displayed across India he will give a wry smile at his success.
But his life has not all been plain sailing for Virat and after losing his father to a brain stroke in 2006 he has given an insight into his early years, saying,
‘I’ve seen a lot in life. Losing my father at a young age, the family business not doing too well, staying in a rented place. There were tough times for the family… It’s all embedded in my memory. My father was my biggest support. He was the one who drove me to practice everyday. I miss his presence sometimes.’
So what next for this talented young Punjabi who grew up in Delhi and now graces the covers of fashion and style magazines such as GQ? I guess only time will tell, but if you are one of his almost 11 million followers on Twitter or the just under 30 million people who has liked his page, I am sure you are waiting, just as I, to see the next stage in Virat’s life take shape.