India’s batting sensation Virat Kohli turns FC Goa’s co-owner

Virat Kohli is a busy man these days. And by the looks of things, also a man in a hurry. Long touted one of world cricket’s brightest batting stars, Virat will now co-own FC Goa, a club in Indian football’s IPL styled Indian Super League(ISL). Team owner aged 25 years and long before he would start thinking of bringing his bright looking cricket career to a close.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are the other two cricket stars investing money into co owning football teams in ISL. But Virat is the first amongst the current crop of India’s millionaire cricketers owning a football club. MS Dhoni, India’s captain owns a moto racing team. The two of them are Indian cricket’s biggest brands today.

Virat does not want to talk much about the money he is pumping in. “It’s confidential. No matter how much you smile, you will get nothing out of me,” he answers a query, without a smile.

He is honest to acknowledge though that it’s a business opportunity. “Cricket is not going to last forever so, whenever I am done, whenever I retire, I am keeping all my options open. It is something that excited me a lot and I tried to go ahead with it,” he says.

The ISL in its first year cannot afford to rope in leading football stars in their prime and Virat is candid enough to admit that. “We can’t have current EPL players come and play here but we do have those who have experience of having played there before which would help,” he says.

Robert Pires who has smelled the success of being a World Cup football winner in 1998 for France will play as marquee player for Virat’s FC Goa. Brazilian legend Zico whom Pele once called the one who came closest to him will be the club’s manager.

It would need a crystal gazer to see if Virat’s performance on the cricket field would sky rocket as promised but his football ownership in itself tells us of a few things about the economics of Indian sport. Even as leagues of non-cricket sports look to make inroads and occupy some market space, it still takes cricketers presence to give these ventures the necessary push.

Even as he poses with the football stars, now as co owner of the club they would play for, Virat discovers the fan in him as he seeks an autograph of Zico and Pires. “Don’t get opportunities with these footballers. The last time we played a bit was in 2012 with Dider Drogba and I was in awe. Now hopefully with this, will get many more such opportunities,” he says.

With his multiple brand endorsements, football ownership and a cricket career in ascending mode, there’s a lot on Virat’s plate. His ‘cricket will not last forever’ comment was preceded by some hard days in the nets with a little help from the man who’s heroics he’s tipped to chase, Sachin Tendulkar.

Team India’s last concluded series in England was one of his most ordinary on a personal front and his dabbling with business, with the World Cup not too far away will test his multi-tasking ability.


New Delhi


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  • 21 Jul 201533°C27°C
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