Virat Kohli never ceases to amaze. Whether it is getting stuck into bowlers with an incredible regularity and imperiousness, or making things happen on the field by his proactive captaincy, or indeed putting all trivial distractions behind while on duty, Kohli is a complete package. But the list doesn't end here.
Money and stardom were bound to come calling, and they did. A report published in October last year by New York-based corporate finance advisory firm, Duff & Phelps, put Kohli's brand value at $92 million, second only to Shah Rukh Khan’s $131 million. And now, after deals with Puma and MRF, his value is understood to have soared to over $120 million. That's far more than any other sportsperson in India, but what perhaps makes Kohli stand apart from the rest is his conviction in his ideals and the resolve to stand by them at all costs.
In an interview to Mint, the Indian captain made it clear that notwithstanding the size of the brand or the money involved, he would not be willing to associate with a brand that is not in sync with his beliefs.
"A particular brand may be very big but the campaigns they are willing to do, or the creative freedom may not be in our hands, and if that doesn’t resonate with what I believe in, I can still reject it," said Kohli.
Asked on whether that means he would turn down an endorsement deal for a product that doesn't align with his fitness philosophy, Kohli said that he would not urge others to consume something that he himself doesn't consume, just because he is being paid big bucks for it.
"When I started my fitness turnaround, it was more of a lifestyle thing initially. But now I think it has become so important to the sport — everyone’s taking it up in such a big way — that for me it’s become a part of my thinking pattern. If something goes away from that, I would not want to be a part of that or be promoting that," the India captain said.
This revelation is significant. Does this allude to a possible break-up with Pepsi. The products offered by the soft drink giant do not exactly agree with Kohli's fitness philosophy, do they?
Kohli disclosed that his management firm doesn't bring deals to him that it knows won't resonate with him, and said that no deal is blindly signed.
The Indian skipper attributed his massive appeal and brand value to people finding a connect with him, though it hadn't been something he had tried to achieve consciously. The $120 million brand value and massive jump in that in less than a year "are just numbers" for him, Kohli noted.