Virat Kohli (pronunciation (help·info); born 5 November 1988) is an Indian cricketer who currently captains the India national team. A right-handed top-order batsman, Kohli is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world. He plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and has been the team's captain since 2013. Since October 2017, he has been the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world and is currently 1st in Test rankings with 928 points. Among Indian batsmen, Kohli has the best ever Test rating (937 points), ODI rating (911 points) and T20I rating (897 points).
Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi into a Punjabi family. His father, Prem Kohli, worked as a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, is a housewife. He has an older brother, Vikas, and an older sister, Bhavna. According to his family, when he was three-years old, Kohli would pick up a cricket bat, start swinging it and ask his father to bowl at him.
India toured South Africa in December 2013 for three ODIs and two Tests. Kohli averaged 15.50 in the ODIs, including a duck. In the first Test at Johannesburg, playing his first Test in South Africa and batting at 4 for the first time, Kohli scored 119 and 96. His hundred was the first by a subcontinent batsman at the venue since 1998. Regarding Kohli's hundred, South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald said, "The one word that comes to my mind is responsibility. I think he [Kohli] showed great discipline and responsibility. It reminds me of Sachin Tendulkar when they came here in 1996." The match ended in a draw, and Kohli was awarded man of the match. India failed to win a single match on the tour, losing the second Test by 10 wickets in which he made 46 and 11.
Kohli was raised in Uttam Nagar and started his schooling at Vishal Bharti Public School. In 1998, the West Delhi Cricket Academy was created, and Kohli, a nine-year-old, was part of its first intake. Kohli's father took him to the academy after their neighbours suggested that "Virat shouldn't waste his time in gully cricket and instead join a professional club". Kohli trained at the academy under Rajkumar Sharma and also played matches at the Sumeet Dogra Academy at Vasundhara Enclave at the same time. Sharma recounts Kohli's early days at his academy, "He oozed talent. It was so difficult to keep him quiet. He was a natural in whatever he did and I was most impressed with his attitude. He was ready to bat at any spot, and I had to literally push him home after the training sessions. He just wouldn’t leave." In ninth grade, he shifted to Saviour Convent in Paschim Vihar to help his cricket practice. Apart from sports, Kohli was good at academics as well, and his teachers remember him as "a bright and alert child". Kohli's family lived in Meera Bagh until 2015 when they moved to Gurgaon.
Kohli first played for Delhi Under-15 team in October 2002 in the 2002–03 Polly Umrigar Trophy. He was the leading run-getter for his team in that tournament with 172 runs at an average of 34.40. He became the captain of the team for the 2003–04 Polly Umrigar Trophy and scored 390 runs in 5 innings at an average of 78 including two centuries and two fifties. In late 2004, he was selected in the Delhi Under-17 team for the 2003–04 Vijay Merchant Trophy. He scored 470 runs in four matches at an average of 117.50 with two hundreds and top-score of 251*. Delhi Under-17s won the 2004–05 Vijay Merchant Trophy in which Kohli finished as the highest run-scorer with 757 runs from 7 matches at an average of 84.11 with two centuries. In February 2006, he made his List A debut for Delhi against Services but did not get to bat.
In July 2006, Kohli was selected in the India Under-19 squad on its tour of England. He averaged 105 in the three-match ODI series against England Under-19s and 49 in the three-match Test series. India Under-19 went on to win both the series. At the conclusion of the tour, the India Under-19 coach Lalchand Rajput was impressed with Kohli and said, "Kohli showed strong technical skills against both pace and spin". In September, the India Under-19 team toured Pakistan. Kohli averaged 58 in the Test series and 41.66 in the ODI series against Pakistan Under-19s.
Kohli made his first-class debut for Delhi against Tamil Nadu in November 2006, at the age of 18, and scored 10 in his debut innings. He came into the spotlight in December when he decided to play for his team against Karnataka on the day after his father's death and went on to score 90. He went directly to the funeral after he was dismissed. Delhi captain Mithun Manhas said, "That is an act of great commitment to the team and his innings turned out to be crucial," while coach Chetan Chauhan lauded Kohli's "attitude and determination." His mother noted that "Virat changed a bit after that day. Overnight he became a much more matured person. He took every match seriously. He hated being on the bench. It's as if his life hinged totally on cricket after that day. Now, he looked like he was chasing his father's dream which was his own too." He scored a total of 257 runs from 6 matches at an average of 36.71 in that season.
Kohli's father died on 18 December 2006 due to a stroke after being bed-ridden for a month. Regarding his early life, Kohli has said in an interview, "I've seen a lot in life. Losing my father at a young age, the family business not doing too well, staying in a rented place. There were tough times for the family... It's all embedded in my memory." According to Kohli, his father supported his cricket training during his childhood, "My father was my biggest support. He was the one who drove me to practice every day. I miss his presence sometimes."
In April 2007, he made his Twenty20 debut and finished as the highest run-getter for his team in the Inter-State T20 Championship with 179 runs at an average of 35.80. In July–August 2007, the India Under-19 team toured Sri Lanka. In the triangular series against Sri Lanka Under-19s and Bangladesh Under-19s, Kohli was the second highest run-getter with 146 runs from 5 matches. In the two-match Test series that followed, he scored 244 runs at an average of 122 including a hundred and a fifty.
In February–March 2008, Kohli captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. Batting at number 3, he scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47 and finished as the tournament's third-highest run-getter and one of the three batsmen to score a hundred in the tournament. His century (100 runs from 74 balls) against the West Indies Under-19s in the group stage, which was called "the innings of the tournament" by ESPNcricinfo, gave India a 50-run victory and earned Kohli the man of the match. Kohli picked up a leg injury during the match, but recovered in time to play the quarter-final match against England Under-19s. He was instrumental in India's three-wicket semi-final win over New Zealand Under-19s in which he took 2/27 and scored 43 in the tense run-chase and was awarded the man of the match. He scored 19 against South Africa Under-19s in the final which India won by 12 runs (D/L method). ESPNcricinfo commended him for making several tactical bowling changes during the tournament.
In March 2008, Kohli was bought on a youth contract by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000. He had an indifferent 2008 season, with a total of 165 runs in 12 innings at an average of 15.00 and a strike rate of 105.09. He fared slightly better in the second season in which he made a total of 246 runs at 22.36, striking at over 112, while his team made it as far as the final. In the 2010 season, Kohli was the third highest run-getter for his team with 307 runs, averaging 27.90 and improving his strike rate to 144.81.
Following the Under-19 World Cup, Kohli was bought by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000 on a youth contract. In June 2008, Kohli and his Under-19 teammates Pradeep Sangwan and Tanmay Srivastava were awarded the Border-Gavaskar scholarship. The scholarship allowed the three players to train for six weeks at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. In July 2008, he was included in India's 30-man probable squad for the ICC Champions Trophy which was to be held in Pakistan in September 2008. He was also picked in the India Emerging Players squad for the four-team Emerging Players Tournament in Australia. He was in fine form in that tournament and scored 206 runs in six matches at an average of 41.20.
In August 2008, Kohli was included in the Indian ODI squad for tour of Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. Prior to the Sri Lankan tour, Kohli had played only eight List A matches, and his selection was called a "surprise call-up". During the Sri Lankan tour, as both first-choice openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were injured, Kohli batted as a makeshift opener throughout the series. He made his international debut, at the age of 19, in the first ODI of the tour and was dismissed for 12. He made his first ODI half century, a score of 54, in the fourth match which helped India win the series. He had scores of 37, 25 and 31 in the other three matches. India won the series 3–2 which was India's first ODI series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
After the Champions Trophy was postponed to 2009, Kohli was picked as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan in the India A squad for the unofficial Tests against Australia A in September 2008. He batted only once in the two-match series, and scored 49 in that innings. Later that month in September 2008, he played for Delhi in the Nissar Trophy against SNGPL (winners of Quaid-i-Azam Trophy from Pakistan) and top-scored for Delhi in both innings, with 52 and 197. The match was drawn but SNGPL won the trophy on first-innings lead. In October 2008, Kohli played for Indian Board President's XI in a four-day tour match against Australia. He made 105 and 16* in that match against a bowling line-up consisting of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Jason Krejza.
Kohli was included in the squad for the home ODI series against England in November 2008 but was not given a chance to play, due to the inclusion of Tendulkar and Sehwag in the team. In December 2008, Kohli was given a Grade D contract in the annual BCCI contracts list which entitled him to receive ₹1.5 million (equivalent to ₹3.1 million or US$44,000 in 2018). He was then dropped from the squad for the five-match ODI series in Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka in January 2009.
Kohli was selected in the four-team Emerging Players Tournament in July–August 2009 held in Australia. He opened the innings for India Emerging Players in that tournament and finished as the leading run-getter with 398 runs from seven matches at an average of 66.33. He scored 104 off 102 balls in the final against South Africa Emerging Players at Brisbane to help his team win the match by 17 runs and clinch the title. At the conclusion of the tournament, Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of the national selection committee, was impressed with Kohli and remarked "I must say, opener Virat Kohli was outstanding. Some of the shots he played spoke about his ability." Kohli has called this tournament as the "turning point" of his career.
Kohli returned to the national team replacing the injured Gautam Gambhir in the Indian squad for the tri-series in Sri Lanka. He batted at number 4 for India in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy because of an injury to Yuvraj Singh. In the inconsequential group match against the West Indies, Kohli scored an unbeaten 79 in India's successful chase of 130 and won his first man of the match award. Kohli played as a reserve batsman in the seven-match home ODI series against Australia, appearing in two matches as injury replacement. He found a place in the home ODI series against Sri Lanka in December 2009 and scored 27 and 54 in the first two ODIs before making way for Yuvraj who regained fitness for the third ODI. However, Yuvraj's finger injury recurred leading to him being ruled out indefinitely. Kohli returned to the team in the fourth ODI at Kolkata and scored his first ODI century–107 off 111 balls–sharing a 224-run partnership for the third wicket with Gambhir, who made his personal best score of 150. India won by seven wickets to seal the series 3–1. The man of the match was awarded to Gambhir who gave the award to Kohli.
Despite the poor run of form, Kohli was retained in the ODI squad for a three-match series against Australia in October, and in the only completed match of the series at Visakhapatnam, scored his third ODI century–118 off 121 balls–which helped India reach the target of 290 after losing the openers early. Winning the man of the match, he admitted that he was under pressure to keep his place in the team after failures in the two previous series. Part of a largely inexperienced team for the home ODI series against New Zealand, Kohli scored a match-winning 104-ball 105, his fourth ODI hundred and second in succession, in the first game, and followed it up with 64 and 63* in the next two matches. India completed a 5–0 whitewash of New Zealand, while Kohli's performance in the series helped him become a regular in the ODI team and made him a strong contender for a spot in India's World Cup squad. He was India's leading run-scorer in ODIs in 2010, with 995 runs from 25 matches at an average of 47.38 including three centuries.
Tendulkar was rested for the tri-nation ODI tournament in Bangladesh in January 2010, which enabled Kohli to play in each of India's five matches. Against Bangladesh, he scored 91 to help secure a win after India collapsed to 51/3 early in their run-chase of 297. In the next match against Sri Lanka, Kohli ended unbeaten on 71 to help India win the match with a bonus point having chased down their target of 214 within 33 overs. The next day, he scored his second ODI century, against Bangladesh, bringing up the mark with the winning runs. He became only the third Indian batsman to score two ODI centuries before their 22nd birthday, after Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. Kohli was much praised for his performances during the series in particular by the Indian captain Dhoni. Although Kohli made only two runs in the final against Sri Lanka in a four-wicket Indian defeat, he finished as the leading run-getter of the series with 275 runs from five innings at an average of 91.66. In the three-match ODI series at home against South Africa in February, Kohli batted in two games and had scores of 31 and 57.
Raina was named captain and Kohli vice-captain for the tri-series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe in May–June 2010, as many first-choice players skipped the tour. Kohli made 168 runs at 42.00 including two fifties, but India suffered three defeats in four matches and crashed out of the series. During the series, Kohli became the fastest Indian batsman to reach 1,000 runs in ODI cricket. He made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe at Harare and scored an unbeaten 26. Later that month, Kohli batted at 3 in a full-strength Indian team throughout the 2010 Asia Cup and scored a total of 67 runs at an average of 16.75. His struggles with form continued in the tri-series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Sri Lanka where he averaged 15.
Kohli captained India Under-19s to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. After a few months later, he made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19. Initially having played as a reserve batsman in the Indian team, he soon established himself as a regular in the ODI middle-order and was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in 2011 and shrugged off the tag of "ODI specialist" by 2013 with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa. Having reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time in 2013, Kohli also found success in the Twenty20 format, winning the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016).
Kohli was India's leading run-getter in the five-match ODI series of the South African tour in January 2011, with 193 runs at an average of 48.25 including two fifties, both in Indian defeats. During the series, he jumped to number two spot on the ICC Rankings for ODI batsmen, and was named in India's 15-man squad for the World Cup. The inclusion of both Kohli and Raina in the World Cup squad resulted in speculations about which of the two batsmen will make it to the playing eleven. Days before India's first match of the tournament, Indian captain Dhoni indicated that the in-form Kohli is likely to be preferred over Raina.
In March 2018, Kohli decided to play county cricket in England in June, in order to improve his batting before the start of India's tour to England the following month. He signed to play for Surrey, but a neck injury ruled him out of his stint in England before it even began. On 2 August, Kohli scored his first Test century on English soil in the first test match of the series against England. On 5 August, Kohli displaced Steve Smith to become the No. 1 ranked Test batsman in the ICC Test rankings. He also became the seventh Indian batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011 to achieve this feat. In the third test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Kohli scored 97 and 103, and helped India win by 203 runs. At the end of 5-match test series, Kohli scored 593 runs, which was third highest runs by an Indian batsman in a losing test series.
When India toured the West Indies in June–July 2011, they chose a largely inexperienced squad, resting Tendulkar and others such as Gambhir and Sehwag missing out due to injuries. Kohli was one of three uncapped players in the Test squad. Kohli found success in the ODI series which India won 3–2, with a total of 199 runs at an average of 39.80. His best efforts came in the second ODI at Port of Spain where he won the man of the match for his score of 81 which gave India a seven-wicket victory, and the fifth ODI at Kingston where his innings of 94 came in a seven-wicket defeat. Kohli made his Test debut at Kingston in the first match of the Test series that followed. He batted at 5 and was dismissed for 4 and 15 caught behind by Fidel Edwards in both innings. India went on to win the Test series 1–0 but Kohli amassed just 76 runs from five innings, struggling against the short ball and was particularly troubled by the fast bowling of Edwards, who dismissed him three times in the series.
In October 2011, Kohli was the leading run-scorer of the five-match home ODI series against England which India won 5–0. He scored a total of 270 runs across five matches including unbeaten knocks of 112 from 98 balls at Delhi, where he put on an unbroken 209-run partnership with Gambhir, and 86 at Mumbai, both in successful run-chases. Owing to his ODI success, Kohli was included, ahead of Raina, in the Test squad to face the West Indies in November. In competition with Yuvraj Singh for the number six position, it was not until the final match of the series that Kohli was selected in the team. He scored a pair of fifties in the match, with his first innings score of 52 ensuring India avoided follow-on. India won the subsequent ODI series 4–1 in which Kohli managed to accumulate 243 runs at 60.75. During the series, Kohli scored his eighth ODI century and his second at Visakhapatnam, where he made 117 off 123 balls in India's run-chase of 271, a knock which raised his reputation as "an expert of the chase". Kohli ended up as the leading run-getter in ODIs for the year 2011, with 1381 runs from 34 matches at 47.62 and four centuries.
Having found a place in India's Test squad for the tour of Australia in December 2011, Kohli top-scored with 132 in a tour match against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI to strengthen his case for a spot in the playing eleven ahead of Rohit Sharma. Batting at number 6, Kohli failed to go past 25 in the first two Tests, as his defensive technique was exposed. While fielding on the boundary during the second day of the second match, he gestured to the crowd with his middle finger for which he was fined 50% of his match fee by the match referee. He top-scored in each of India's innings in the third Test at Perth, with 44 and 75, even as India surrendered to their second consecutive innings defeat. In the fourth and final match at Adelaide, Kohli scored his maiden Test century of 116 runs in the first innings; it was the only century scored by an Indian in the series. India suffered a 0–4 whitewash and Kohli, India's top run-scorer in the series, was described as "the lone bright spot in an otherwise nightmare visit for the tourists".
Kohli has been the recipient of many awards such as the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) in 2017 and 2018; ICC Test Player of the Year 2018; ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012, 2017 and 2018 and Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He was given the Arjuna Award in 2013, the Padma Shri under the sports category in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India, in 2018. Kohli is ranked as one of the world's most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes. In 2018, Time magazine named Kohli one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Kohli is noted for his on-field aggression and was described in the media as "brash" and "arrogant" during his early career. He has got into confrontations with players and umpires on several occasions. While many former cricketers have backed his aggressive attitude, some have criticised it. In 2012, Kohli had stated that he tries to limit his aggressive behaviour but "the build-up and the pressure or the special occasions make it tough to control the aggression."
Kohli was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012 and handed over the Test captaincy following Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Test retirement in 2014. In early 2017, he became the limited-overs captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from the position. In ODIs, Kohli has the second highest number of centuries and the highest number of centuries in run-chases in the world. He holds the world record for being the fastest batsman to 10,000 and 11,000 runs in ODI cricket, reaching the milestones in 205 and 222 innings respectively.
In July–August 2012, Kohli struck two centuries in the five-match ODI tour of Sri Lanka–106 off 113 balls at Hambantota and 128* off 119 balls at Colombo–winning man of the match in both games. India won the series 4–1 and on account of scoring the most runs in the series, Kohli was named player of the series. In the one-off T20I that followed, he scored a 48-ball 68, his first T20I fifty, and won the player of the series award. Kohli scored his second Test century at Bangalore during New Zealand's tour of India and won his first man of the match award in Test cricket. India won the two-match series 2–0, and Kohli averaged 106 with one hundred and two fifties from three innings. In the subsequent T20I series, he scored 70 runs off 41 balls, but India lost the match by one run and the series 1–0. He continued to be in good form during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, with 185 runs from 5 matches at an average of 46.25. He hit two fifties during the tournament, 50 against Afghanistan in the group stage and 78* against Pakistan in the Super Eights, winning man of the match for both innings. He was named in the ICC 'Team of the Tournament'.
Kohli's Test form dipped during the first three matches of England's tour of India with a top score of 20 and England leading the series 2–1. He scored a patient 103 from 295 balls in the last match on a slow and low pitch at Nagpur, keeping India in contention of drawing the series. ESPNcricinfo praised Kohli for having "demonstrated his growing maturity to play just the sort of innings his side required", while Kohli described his knock as "a learning innings". However, the match ended in a draw and England won their first Test series in India in 28 years. Against Pakistan in December 2012, Kohli averaged 18 in the T20Is and 4.33 in the ODIs, being troubled by the fast bowlers, particularly Junaid Khan, who dismissed him on all three occasions in the ODI series. Kohli had a quiet ODI series against England, apart from a match-winning 77* in the third ODI at Ranchi, with a total of 155 runs at an average of 38.75.
Kohli started dating Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma in 2013; the couple soon earned the celebrity couple nickname "Virushka". Their relationship attracted substantial media attention, with persistent rumours and speculations in the media, as neither of the two publicly talked about it. The couple married on 11 December 2017 in a private ceremony in Florence, Italy.
Kohli was signed up by sports agent Bunty Sajdeh of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment after the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Sajdeh recalls, "I didn’t go after them after they became stars. In fact, I watched Virat at the 2008 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. I was mighty impressed with his attitude and the way he was marshalling his team. He had that spark. And I told Yuvi to set up the meeting." Sajdeh manages Kohli's endorsement deals, along with those of other Indian cricketers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay. It was reported in 2013 that Kohli's brand endorsements were worth over ₹1 billion (US$14 million). His bat deal with MRF is said to be the costliest deal in Indian cricket history. In 2017, he signed an eight-year endorsement deal with Puma worth about ₹1.1 billion (US$15 million), becoming the first Indian sportsperson to sign a ₹1 billion (US$14 million) deal with a brand.
Kohli scored his fourth Test century (107) at Chennai in the first match of the home Test series against Australia in February 2013. He said he was "feeling hungry for this series" after a poor run of form in the two previous series and also disappointed on getting out soon after reaching the hundred-run mark. India completed a 4–0 series sweep, becoming the first team to whitewash Australia in more than four decades. Kohli averaged 56.80 in the series and cemented his spot in the Test team.
In March 2013, Kohli started a charity foundation called Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF). The organisation aims at helping underprivileged kids and conducts events to raise funds for the charity. According to Kohli, the foundation works with select NGOs to "create awareness, seek support and raise funds for the various causes they endorse and the philanthropic work they engage in." In May 2014, eBay and Save the Children India conducted a charity auction with VKF, with its proceeds benefiting the education and healthcare of underprivileged children.
In June 2013, Kohli featured in the ICC Champions Trophy in England which India won. He scored a match-winning 144 against Sri Lanka in a warm-up match. He scored 34, 22 and 22 not out in India's group matches against South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan respectively, while India qualified for the semi-finals with an undefeated record. In the semi-final against Sri Lanka at Cardiff, he struck 58 not out in an eight-wicket win for India. The final between India and England at Birmingham was reduced to 20 overs after a rain delay. India batted first and Kohli top-scored with 43 from 34 balls, sharing a sixth-wicket partnership of 47 runs off 33 balls with Ravindra Jadeja and helping India reach 129/7 in 20 overs. India went on to secure a five-run win and their second consecutive ICC ODI tournament victory. He was also named as part of the 'Team of the Tournament' by the ICC.
Kohli stood-in as the captain for the first ODI of the triangular series in the West Indies after Dhoni injured himself during the match. India lost the match by one wicket, and Dhoni was subsequently ruled out of the series with Kohli being named the captain for the remaining matches. In his second match as captain, Kohli scored his first hundred as captain, making 102 off 83 balls against the West Indies at Port of Spain in a bonus point win for India. Many senior players including Dhoni were rested for the five-match ODI tour of Zimbabwe in July 2013, with Kohli being appointed captain for an entire series for the first time. In the first game of the series at Harare, he struck 115 runs from 108 balls, helping India chase down the target of 229 and winning the man of the match award. He batted on two more occasions in the series in which he had scores of 14 and 58 not out. India completed a 5–0 sweep of the series; their first in an away ODI series.
According to Kohli, football is his second favourite sport. In 2014, Kohli became a co-owner of Indian Super League club FC Goa. He stated that he invested in the club with the "keenness of football" and because he "wanted football to grow in India". He added, "It's a business venture for me for the future. Cricket's not going to last forever and I'm keeping all my options open after retirement."
In 2014, American Appraisal estimated Kohli's brand value at US$56.4 million placing him fourth on the list of India's most valued celebrity brands. The same year, UK-based magazine SportsPro rated Kohli as the second most marketable athlete in the world behind only Lewis Hamilton, placing him above the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Usain Bolt. In an October 2016 report by Duff & Phelps on India's most valued celebrity brands, Kohli's brand value was estimated to be US$92 million, second only to that of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
Kohli had a successful time during India's home ODI series win over the West Indies in October 2014. His 62 in the second ODI at Delhi was his first fifty across Tests and ODIs in 16 innings since February, and he stated that he got his "confidence back" with the innings. He struck his 20th ODI hundred–127 runs in 114 balls–in the fourth match at Dharamsala. India registered a 59-run victory and Kohli was awarded man of the match. Dhoni was rested for the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in November, enabling Kohli to lead the team for another full series. Kohli batted at 4 throughout the series and made scores of 22, 49, 53 and 66 in the first four ODIs, with India leading the series 4–0. In the fifth ODI at Ranchi, Kohli came in to bat with India at 14/2 in pursuit of 287. He made an unbeaten 139 off 126 balls to give his team a three-wicket win and a whitewash of Sri Lanka. Kohli was awarded player of the series, and it was the second whitewash under his captaincy. During the series he became the fastest batsman in the world to go past the 6000-run mark in ODIs. With 1054 ODI runs at 58.55 in 2014, he became the second player in the world after Sourav Ganguly to make more than 1,000 runs in ODIs for four consecutive calendar years.
In November 2014, Kohli and Anjana Reddy's Universal Sportsbiz (USPL) launched a youth fashion brand WROGN. The brand started to produce men's casual wear clothing in 2015 and has tied up with Myntra and Shopper's Stop. In late 2014, Kohli was announced as a shareholder and brand ambassador of the social networking venture 'Sport Convo' based in London.
For the first Test of the Australian tour in December 2014, Dhoni was not part of the Indian team at Adelaide due to an injury, and Kohli took the reins as Test captain for the first time. Kohli scored 115 in India's first innings, becoming the fourth Indian to score a hundred on Test captaincy debut. In their second innings, India were set a target of 364 to be scored on the fifth day. Kohli came in to bat when the Indian innings was reduced to 57/2 and started batting aggressively. He put on 185 runs for the third wicket with Murali Vijay before Vijay's dismissal, which triggered a batting collapse. From 242/2, India was bowled out for 315 with Kohli's 141 off 175 balls being the top score. Kohli noted that his team was looking for a win and not a draw, while also saying that it was "the best Test I have been part of". Kohli's second innings ton was hailed by several Australian commentators as the finest fourth-innings performance they had ever seen in Australia.
In 2015, Kohli invested ₹900 million (US$13 million) to start a chain of gyms and fitness centres across the country. Launched under the name Chisel, the chain of gyms is jointly owned by Kohli, Chisel India and CSE (Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment), the agency which manages Kohli's commercial interests. In 2016, Kohli started Stepathlon Kids, a children fitness venture, in partnership with Stepathlon Lifestyle.
In January 2015, India failed to win a single match in the tri-nation ODI series against the hosts Australia and England. Kohli was unable to replicate his Test success in ODIs, failing to make a two-digit score in any of the four games. Kohli's ODI form did not improve in the lead-up to the World Cup, with scores of 18 and 5 in the warm-up matches against Australia and Afghanistan respectively.
Kohli had a slump in form when India toured Bangladesh in June 2015. He contributed only 14 in the one-off Test which ended in a draw and averaged 16.33 in the ODI series which Bangladesh won 2–1. Kohli ended his streak of low scores by scoring his 11th Test hundred in the first Test of the Sri Lankan tour which India lost. India came back and won the next two matches to seal the series 2–1, Kohli's first series win as Test captain and India's first away Test series win in four years.
In September 2015, Kohli became a co-owner of the International Premier Tennis League franchise UAE Royals, and, in December that year, became a co-owner of the JSW-owned Bengaluru Yodhas franchise in Pro Wrestling League.
At the 2016 IPL, the Royal Challengers finished runners-up and Kohli broke the record for most runs in an IPL season (of 733 runs) by scoring 973 runs in 16 matches at an average of 81.08, winning the Orange Cap. He scored four centuries in the tournament, having never scored one in the Twenty20 format before the start of the season, and also became the first player to reach the 4000-run milestone in the IPL. At the launch event of his biography, 'Driven: The Virat Kohli Story' in New Delhi, in October 2016, Kohli announced that RCB would be the IPL franchise that he would permanently play for.
In 2017, Kohli was ranked 7th in the list released by Forbes as the Most Valuable Brand among athletes, ahead of sportspeople like Lionel Messi, Rory McIlroy and Stephen Curry, with an estimated brand value of $14.5 million. In 2018, Kohli was again listed 83 in the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world. In 2019, Kohli dropped 17 places to No. 100 on Forbes' World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes" list, making him the only Indian and the only cricketer to feature in that list. His earnings were estimated at about $25 million, earning $21 million from endorsements and the rest from salary and winnings.
As of September 2017, Kohli has endorsement deals with 17 brands. Among the brands he endorsed in early 2018 are American Tourister, Audi, Boost, Colgate-Palmolive, Gillette, Gionee, Herbalife, MRF, Manyavar, New Era, Puma, Punjab National Bank, Tissot, Uber and Vicks. The brands Kohli previously endorsed include 3C Company, Celkon Mobiles, Cinthol (from Godrej), Clear (from Unilever), Fair & Lovely, Fastrack (from Titan), Pepsi, Flying Machine, Mattel, Munch (from Nestle), Oakley, Red Chief Shoes, Royal Challenge (from United Breweries), Sangam Suiting and Toyota Motors.
He followed it up with ODI centuries against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in consecutive series, equalling Ricky Ponting's tally of 30 ODI centuries. In October 2017, he was adjourned the ODI player of the series against New Zealand for scoring two ODI centuries, during the course of which he made a new record for the most runs (8,888), best average (55.55) and highest number of centuries (31) for any batsman when completing 200 ODIs. Kohli made several more records during the 3 match Test series against Sri Lanka at home in November. After scoring a century and a double century in the first two Tests, he ended up scoring yet another double century in the third Test, during which he became the eleventh Indian batsman to surpass 5000 runs in Test cricket while scoring his 20th Test century and 6th double century. During this match he also became the first batsman to score six double hundreds as a captain. With 610 runs in the series, Kohli also became the highest run-scorer by an Indian in a three-match Test series and the fourth-highest overall. India comfortably won the three-match series 1–0 and Kohli was adjudged man of the match for the second and third Test matches and player of the series. With this win, India equalled Australia for the record streak of nine consecutive series wins in Test cricket. He ended the year with 2818 international runs, which is recorded as the third-highest tally ever in a calendar year and the highest tally ever by an Indian player. The ICC named Kohli as captain of both their World Test XI and ODI XI for 2017.
During ODI series against West Indies in 2018, Kohli became the 12th batsman and fastest player to score 10,000 ODI runs. He surpassed the milestone with 205 innings which is 54 innings less than the next quickest to the landmark, Sachin Tendulkar. In the course he scored his 37th ODI century. Kohli's average after crossing 10,000 is 59.62, which is also the best average among the 10,000 club members. On 27 October, after scoring his 38th ODI century, Kohli became the first batsman for India, first captain and tenth overall, to score three successive centuries in ODIs. He ended up scoring 453 runs in 5 innings, at an average of 151.00, in the 5-match series and was the Player of the Series.
Kohli fared average in the Test matches as India lost 1–2 during the South Africa tour in 2018, but came back strongly to score 558 runs in the 6 ODIs, making a record for the highest runs scored in a bilateral ODI series. This included three centuries, remaining unbeaten in two with a best of 160*. India won the ODI series 5–1, Kohli becoming the first Indian captain to win an ODI series in South Africa.
In September 2018, West Indies legend Brian Lara, who was in New York as a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour, picked Kohli as one of the best batsmen in the world, alongside England captain Joe Root.
On 16 December 2018 in the 2018-2019 Border Gavaskar Trophy, Kohli scored his 25th test hundred in Perth. His knock of 123 was his 6th hundred in three tours to Australia making him the only Indian to score 6 test hundreds in Australia after Sachin Tendulkar. He also became the fastest Indian and second fastest overall to score 25 test hundreds, second only to Sir Don Bradman. Although he broke several records in the game, his innings proved to insufficient as India went down by 146 runs as Australia levelled the series with two tests remaining. He had scored 82 in the third test at MCG, in which India won. Overall. he had finished the series with 282 runs at an average of 40. By winning the test series in Australia, he had become the first Indian and also the first Asian skipper to win a test series in Australia. He was again named as captain of both the World Test XI and ODI XI for 2018 by the ICC.
In March 2019, Kohli was signed up as brand ambassador of mobile esports platform Mobile Premier League.
On 28 March 2019, he became the second player to reach 5000 IPL runs after Suresh Raina.
In April 2019, he was named the captain of India's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 16 June 2019, in India's match against Pakistan, Kohli became the fastest batsman, in terms of innings, to score 11,000 runs in ODI cricket. He reached the landmark in his 222nd innings. Eleven days later, in the match against the West Indies, Kohli became the fastest cricketer, in terms of innings, to score 20,000 runs in international cricket, doing so in his 417th innings. Kohli scored five consecutive fifty plus score in the tournament. India lost the semi-final against New Zealand, in which Kohli was out for just a run.
In October 2019, Kohli captained India for the 50th time in Test cricket, in the second Test against South Africa. In the first innings of the match, Kohli scored an unbeaten 254 runs, passing 7,000 runs in Tests in the process, and became the first batsman for India to score seven double centuries in Test cricket. In November 2019, during the day/night Test match against Bangladesh, Kohli became the fastest captain to score 5,000 runs in Test cricket, doing so in his 86th innings. In the same match, he also scored his 70th century in international cricket.
Kohli is often compared to Sachin Tendulkar, due to their similar styles of batting, and sometimes referred to as Tendulkar's "successor". Many former cricketers expect Kohli to break Tendulkar's batting records. Kohli has stated that growing up his idol and role model was Tendulkar and that as a kid he "tried to copy the shots [Tendulkar] played and hit sixes the way he used to hit them." Former West Indies great Vivian Richards, who is regarded as the most destructive batsman in cricket, stated that Kohli reminds him of himself. In early 2015, Richards said Kohli was "already legendary" in the ODI format, while former Australian cricketer Dean Jones called Kohli the "new king of world cricket".