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Since his U-19 days, Virat Kohli; the batsman caught the eye of many. His unbelievable talent made him a player to watch out for in the future. Jatin Paranjpe, the former Sports Marketing head of Nike, recently shared what led to him to offer a contract to young Kohli.

Paranjpe stated that he was immediately struck when he saw Kohli bat ahead of the 2008 U-19 World Cup in Malaysia. From the beginning, he had that hunger in his eyes that separated him from the rest.

When Jatin Paranjpe endorsed young Kohli

Nike back then only had S Sreesanth as their cricket athlete. The popular company endorsed Virat Kohli as their first-ever signing to use their logo on a cricket bat. Soon after Kohli led his side to glory in the U-19 World Cup, he changed the sticker of his bat from BDM to Nike.

“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, confidence,” Paranjpe told Gaurav Kapur on his YouTube Show 22 Yarns.

 

He added, “Virat Kohli was my very first signing, and the next day, I signed Tanmay Srivastav. Nike had only Sreesanth as a cricket athlete and at that time, there wasn’t the thought for a Nike bat,” he said.

“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,” he added. 

Jatin Paranjpe’s assessment about Virat Kohli was spot on as he scored many centuries using the Nike logo on his bat. He used the logo almost for 5 years and made his mark in international cricket. Kohli shifted from Nike to MRF in 2014 and since then, has used its sticker on his bat.

Trackback to 2020, the Indian captain was last seen in action during the New Zealand Test series earlier this year. It is now almost certain that Kohli will next be leading his IPL side the Royal Challengers Bangalore later this year. The BCCI is ready to host the IPL from September-November in UAE and are now only seeking government clearance.