It requires something special for a sporting star to achieve a level of fame that transcends their chosen profession. Think Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton and Tiger Woods.
You do not need to be a football fan, follower of the NBA, Formula One enthusiast, or regular on the golf course to recognise those names.
These are the best of the best, with it possible to add the likes of Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan to that talent pool.
Of course, when gracing global platforms such as soccer, golf, tennis, or boxing, it is slightly easier to become a household name – eyes in every corner of the planet are forever fixed in your direction.
In cricketing terms, that task is much trickier. While the game continues to grow, there are only a handful of nations that can claim to be competitive at an elite level. Achieving superstardom on such a stage is no mean feat.
Virat Kohli has managed that and continues to see his stock soar. He currently has India at +100 in betting odds ICC World Cup in 2023, with global glory being chased down on home soil.
He is already considered to be one of the best batsmen to have graced this, or any other, generation and boasts a loyal legion of followers that extends into several hundreds of millions. That is the kind of celebrity usually reserved for Hollywood A-listers or iconic figures from the music industry.
Kohli is very much a break from the norm and can proudly claim to sit alongside contemporaries from other sporting pursuits who have historically been unaccustomed to seeing cricket performers grace their corner.
Such a standing has been achieved through a combination of natural ability, hard work, and relentless ambition. The same is true for all of those who have scaled such heights, with Cristiano Ronaldo another to be thrown into the mix.
Yuvraj Singh, a fellow legend in Indian cricket, has said that long-time team-mate Kohli fancies himself as a bit of a CR7 on the football field. He has said: “He thinks he’s a very good footballer. He thinks he is Cristiano Ronaldo, but he isn’t. In cricket, he is. In terms of fitness, it matches, and the focus on the game also.”
Kohli can certainly claim to have emulated Ronaldo in the talent stakes, with a similar rise to the very top of a demanding game being enjoyed.
There are obvious similarities to be drawn between the pair, with neither prepared to settle for second best. Ronaldo has, however, had to get used to that at times on an international platform when donning the colours of Portugal.
Kohli finds himself in a more fortunate position, with there an endless conveyor belt of cricketing talent being produced from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. He has grown accustomed to operating under the brightest of spotlights.
The same is true for Woods, Hamilton, and Williams, but few have ever had to carry the weight of expectation that is lumped onto Kohli’s shoulders each and every time that he takes to the field, and it is that which makes him a transcendent athlete and a man who can rightly claim to be every bit “Cristiano Ronaldo” – if not much more than that.