As young cricketers begin to climb up the international ladder, they frequently come under the radar of top advertising agencies and brands for endorsements.
Such was the case with Virat Kohli during the early years of his international career where he sported the BDM logo on his bat.
Shortly, he was bagged by apparel and footwear giants Nike. Thus, Kohli began to don the trademark logo of Nike on his bat for a number of years. He also notched up his highest ODI score of 183 against Pakistan in 2012 Asia Cup, with the Nike logo in his bat.
The current Indian captain then signed a multi-million dollar contract with MRF and donned their logo on his bat ever since.
Now, the former Sports Marketing head of Nike, Jatin Paranjpe, has revealed the sequence of events which led to Kohli penning down the contract with the apparel and footwear giants.
“Through my coaches’ network, I started going to watch a lot of matches, and Virat was one of them in an India U-19 camp ahead of the 2008 U-19 World Cup. I saw that he had something in his eyes – a hunger, a confidence. Virat was my very first signing, and the next day, I signed Tanmay Srivastav.” Paranjpe told Gaurav Kapur on his YouTube Show ‘22 Yarns’.
At that point in time, star players like MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh were seen donning the logo of Nike rivals ‘Reebok’ on their bats.
“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 concluded.