India captain Virat Kohli is the biggest name in the game, the most powerful brand in the sport and the biggest presence in the online world.
Kohli is the only cricketer among the Forbes 100 highest paid athletes and one of the most marketable names in the world. It is the result of his extraordinary performance on the field, personality, and engagement with fans.
It is therefore no surprise that Kohli has the largest following on social media among cricketers.
On Wednesday, Kohli crossed 30 million followers on Twitter. He had already breached that mark on the other two major platforms – Facebook and Instagram. With the latest achievement, Kohli has over 100 million followers.
The breakup of Kohli’s social media presence is 37m on Facebook, 35.5m on Instagram and 30m on Twitter for a total of 102.5m.
Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar comes closest to Kohli’s social media numbers. Tendulkar has 29.4m followers on Twitter, 15.3m on Instagram and 28m on Facebook for an aggregate of 72.7m.
Wicketkepeer batsman MS Dhoni comes in next with 7.47m on Twitter, 14m on Instagram and 20m on Facebook for an overall following of 44.47m.
India captain Virat Kohli was the only cricketer in the Forbes 100 highest-paid athletes for 2019.
Kohli was the 100th name on the list, with total earnings of $25 million (Dh91m). His earnings included $4m from match fees and $21m from endorsements. Kohli’s match fee includes his $1m India contract and IPL deal.
Kohli’s low salary – compared to other athletes, especially NBA and NFL players – meant he was right at the bottom of the list, even as his endorsement list compared favourably to that of NBA stars Russell Westbrook (16th on the list with $35.7m earnings and $18m in endorsements) and James Harden (20th with $30.7m salary and $17m in endorsements).
India wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni was once among the 100 highest-paid athletes but has now slipped out of the list.
Lionel Messi emerged as the highest paid athlete for 2018/2019. Messi took home a cool $127m through salary and endorsement deals.
Second on the list is Messi’s long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo who earned $109m in total.
India took a 2-0 lead in their ODI series against New Zealand with a commanding 90-run victory at the Bay Oval.
Openers Rohit Sharma (87) and Shikhar Dhawan (66) got the visitors off to a perfect start as India set their opponents a target of 325 to win.
New Zealand fell well short and were bowled out for 234 inside 41 overs, with Kuldeep Yadav taking four wickets. Doug Bracewell’s defiant 57, his first international half-century, was too little, too late for the hosts.
India will now seal the series with two matches to spare if they triumph again in their next meeting on Monday.
Captain Virat Kohli lauded another clinical effort from his team. Kohli said India probably finished 20 runs shy of where they should have been after being well placed at 173-2 after 30 overs but said the attacking mindset of his bowlers ensured New Zealand fell well short of the target.
“We were really balanced with the bat. A target of 325 was par, not something you feel comfortable considering New Zealand’s batting. We would like to score those 15-20 runs extra but at the same time, our bowlers are not content to go wicketless for 40 runs; they’d rather go for 60 and take three wickets. That mindset is crucial for us,” Kohli said after the win.
His counterpart Kane Williamson was disappointed at being outplayed at home for the second straight match after Kiwis were shot out for 157 in the first match.
“It’s not so much the losing, it’s the way we’ve been losing. We showed glimpses in the chase, we just didn’t do it long enough. Two games in a row we have not had control at any stage, but we need to take small steps,” Williamson said.