To Chiku, Love Virat
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Just promise yourself that you’ll never forget to rise. And if at first you don’t, try again,” read a handwritten letter posted through Virat Kohli’s social media handles on Tuesday which was addressed to his younger self, Chiku.
Kohli, the current captain of India’s men’s national cricket team, turned 31 on Tuesday. The skipper—who both as a captain and batsman either holds multiple records or is in the process of breaking several—also led the U-19 team to a World Cup victory in 2008.
The Delhi lad talked about life lessons for a teenager and ways to navigate through various situations in years ahead through the letter.
Virat also talked about his relationship with his father and the bond he shares. Virat admits that actions of parents are difficult to understand as a teenager, but advises that all those actions mean good for children.
We pick up three words—food, shoes and dreams—from the letter, which is meant to be a guide for all teenagers, and see how these have shaped up for the most successful Indian cricket captain whose annual income as on 2019 was INR 176 crore.
In the letter, Kohli tells his 15-year-old self about the shoes his father did not gift him on his birthday. “I know you are thinking about those shoes dad did not gift you today. They mean nothing when compared to the hug he gave you this morning or the joke he cracked about your height. Cherish it.” The letter reads.
He lost his father at the age of 18.
As he turns 31, the Delhi-lad has a INR 110 crore deal with global sportswear brand Puma.
Earlier this year, Kohli an athleisure wear range for young kids in collaboration with Puma. The collaborative effort, under his existing brand One8, comprises a range of sneakers, tees and shorts for boys aged 4-14.
One8 also sells adult apparel and energy drinks among other things.
“The launch of the kid’s collection is my way of calling out to future generations, because feeling fit and looking active is a simple step towards leading an active lifestyle,” Kohli said during the launch in September.
In 2014, the Indian skipper entered the fashion business with Wrogn. The brand, whose tagline reads ‘breakaway youth fashion’, is based in Bengaluru and makes clothing and apparel targeted at young people.
A fitness freak Kohli, urges Chiku to cherish the days of “parantha eating”, a small yet significant activity which he believes will become a luxury in the latter years of his life.
Kohli’s love for food is well-known. However, over the years, the ‘king of endorsements’ has made some conscious exits in brand endorsements in line with his eating habits. In 2017, he ended a long-standing association with beverage maker PepsiCo expressing his own reservations about soft drinks. “I don’t want to represent something that I don’t believe in or consume,” he was quoted as saying to Economic Times.
However, he has other F&B brands in his kitty of endorsements including snacking brand Too Yumm, which is owned by Guiltfree Industries Limited and energy drink label, Boost Energy Drink.
Signing off the letter, Kohli reminds his younger self to follow his heart and chase his dreams to show the world how dreaming big makes all the difference.
Hailing from a middle class family, the Indian men’s cricket team captain has come a long way chasing his dreams. He is the highest earning cricketer in the world, with annual earnings of Rs 176 crore ($25 million). Kohli is the only Indian to have made it to the Forbe’s list of highest paid athletes.
Kohli is under BCCI A+ contract, which ensures him an annual salary of Rs 7 crore. Only two other players—Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah—come under this contract. He is also the highest paid cricketer in India Premier League (IPL) earning a whopping Rs 17 crore per year, under contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Apart from his salary from cricket, Virat has 17 endorsements under his belt, including Uber, luxury watches brand Tissot, Audi, MRF and Puma, among others. As per the Forbes list, Kohli made most of his money through endorsements in 2018, totaling to Rs 148 crore.
Kohli has made investments across sectors. His portfolio of investment includes Delhi-based restaurant Nueva, 25 per cent stake in FC Goa that competes in the Indian Super League, London-based tech startup Convo, clothing brand Wrogn and gym chain called Chisel Fitness.
But where does Kohli spends all this money? The captain has a taste for luxury cars and sports bike. He also owns two premium properties in Mumbai and Gurgaon—a sea-facing apartment worth Rs 37 crore in Worli, Mumbai and Rs 80 crore worth bungalow in Gurgaon.