Label volunteer writer Leah Langley discusses Virat Kohli’s huge social media milestone and the impact this may have on cricket.

India’s Cricket captain, Virat Kohli, made history recently after becoming the first cricketer to reach 100 million Instagram followers. Kohli is only the fourth sportsperson to reach this milestone being footballers: Cristiano Ronaldo (265 million followers), Barcelona captain Lionel Messi (186 million followers), and Brazilian star Neymar (147 million followers). The 32-year-old marked the occasion by sharing a video compiled of all the images that he had shared on the platform alongside the caption: “You have made this journey beautiful. Feeling blessed and grateful for all the love.” He holds the top rank as India’s most valuable celebrity brand, with a value of $237.7 million, and he is the only cricket star in the ‘Global Top-10 Highest-Earning Sportspersons’, a spot he was able to reach through advertising and sponsorship on Instagram.

Success of the Cricket Star

In One Day International’s, Kohli holds the second highest number of centuries, and the highest number of centuries in run-chases, globally. A world record holder, Kohli is also the quickest batsman to 8,000, 9,000, 10,000, 11,000, and 12,000 runs. His performances have seen him receive many award such as the ICC ODI Player of the Year (2012, 2017, 2018), Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World (2016, 2017, 2018), Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) (2017, 2018), and ICC Test Player of the Year (2018). In 2018, he received the highest sporting honour in India, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and he was also named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In 2020, Forbes ranked Kohli 66th in the list of the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world for the year 2020, and he had estimated earnings of approximately $26 million.

Social Media influence in Sport

His latest achievement of reaching the 100 million landmark on Instagram has seen much more attention being paid to the cricketing world. In a world that is often dominated by football and rugby, this could be the turning point that was needed for the spotlight to be shone onto other sporting legends and other, underappreciated, sports. With a cabinet of awards and a relatable personality, it is hoped that Kohli will be the first of many more cricketers to reach this moment, and it is hoped that many others will follow his path.


Edited by: Lois George

Header by: Christos Alamaniotis


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