Former Nike Sports Marketing Head Jatin Paranjpe revealed how Indian captain Virat Kohli was offered a deal that saw him flaunt the famous swoosh on his bat.In an interview with Gaurav Kapur on an episode of 22 Yarns, Paranjpe spoke about how he offered Virat Kohli the deal in the 2007/08 season ahead of the U-19 skipper’s 2008 World Cup win.
He said that Nike had only Sreesanth on the cricket roster, which was a frightening scenario for any brand.How Indian captain Virat Kohli landed his first contract with Nike at 19.How Indian captain Virat Kohli landed his first contract with Nike at 19. KEY HIGHLIGHTSVirat Kohli had signed his first contract with Nike at the age of 19 ahead of the U-19 World Cup in 2008Virat Kohli captained India to glory at the 2008 U-19 World Cup and has not looked back ever sinceVirat Kohli is one of the best batsmen of the present era
Virat Kohli is a sports marketer’s dream at the moment. One of the most successful cricketers of the present era, Kohli enjoys a global fan base and has been one of India’s best performers across formats. Kohli was the only cricketer in the list of Forbes’ top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2020 and his brand value is estimated at a staggering $237.5 million – highest among Indian celebrities in 2019.
Kohli endorses several top brands today and is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world but that was not the case always. The current Indian skipper has come a long way in becoming successful and has made a lot of sacrifices on the way. He was nowhere close to being one of the best in the world when he had first started out in international cricket but his determination coupled with his hunger for success has helped him transform into a world-beater.
Kohli currently sports the famous MRF logo on his bat which has been used by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara among others during their playing days. However, there was a time when Kohli used to display a Nike logo on his bat during his initial years in international cricket. The current Indian skipper was signed up by Nike India at a tender age of 19 after former Nike India Sports Marketing Head Jatin Paranjpe spotted his talent.
Paranjpe, who is currently one of the national selectors of the Indian cricket team, was working with Nike when he first saw a young Kohli play during a U-19 camp ahead of the 2008 U-19 World Cup. Paranjpe saw the hunger and confidence in Kohli’s eyes and decided to offer him a contract from Nike even before the 19-year-old garnered limelight by leading India to U-19 World Cup triumph that year.
“Nike had only Sreesanth as a cricket athlete and at that time, there wasn’t the thought for a Nike bat. It was just footwear, shoes, etc. And we had a roster that had only S Sreesanth written on it. That is an extremely dangerous situation to be in and that scared the daylights out of me,” Paranjpe told host Gaurav Kapur on his show 22 Yarns.
Kohli’s contract with Nike was terminated in 2013 after the Indian skipper was sued by the brand for a breach of contract.