Not since the time of Sachin Tendulkar has one player dominated the national consciousness as Virat Kohli has in the last fortnight. His sensational form, and ability to carry the team on his shoulders while chasing under pressure, has made him the hero of India’s WT20 campaign.
Criticised for his occasional brash behaviour, Kohli can do no wrong in the eyes of millions of fans now and his brand image is soaring. If his social media presence is anything to go by, there is a definite attempt at image makeover. On Women’s Day, he posted message on social media against sexual harassment. His defence of former girlfriend Anushka Sharma, after she was trolled in the social media, too won him many admirers.
Until a year ago, there were many instances of Kohli swearing and showing the finger at the camera. His verbal attack on a journalist during the 2015 World Cup in Australia had invited plenty of criticism.
“Since taking over as Test captain (in 2015), it was clear Kohli would need to change his brand image. That seems to have happened well. It is a sign of maturity and for Kohli that transition has worked for his brand image as well,” Indraneel Das Blah, COO, CAA Kwan, a talent management company, said.
Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of Percept Limited, said: “He never forgets to attribute his success to the team. His mention of Tendulkar after his knock against Pakistan was quite a moment. He is a complete package now.”