CHENNAI: Handsome. Aggressive. Successful. Powerful. Virat Kohli is the new alpha male of Indian cricket. Hardly a revelation, for, he has been that for quite a while. He needn’t have any validation for that. But Twitter just certified that, as he became the first cricketer to cross 5-million fans on the networking site. To be exact — 5,004,544 while going to print. And it could swell by a few thousands more by the time the paper reaches the reader.
To put this in perspective, Indian cricket’s immortal icon Sachin Tendulkar has 4,910,498 followers on Twitter.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, from whom Kohli inherited the mantle of Test captaincy, pales in comparison with a following of 3,374,509.
Acknowledging the overwhelming response, Kohli put a selfie on his Twitter handle and tweeted: “Wow that was a quick ride to 5 million! Great start for the new year. Thank you all for making it possible :)”.
Started in September 2009, he describes himself thus: “Indian cricketer, gamer, car lover, loves soccer and an enthusiast.”
In his early days, Kohli was quite active on the site, and honestly voiced his opinions on his game, before it turned a tad sour when he defended himself after flicking the middle finger up at the crowd in Sydney during a Test in 2012. It cost him 50 per cent of his match fees, but Kohli took to Twitter to vent his frustration the next day. “I agree cricketers don’t have to retaliate,” Kohli said. “What when the crowd says the worst things about your mother and sister? The worst I’ve heard.”
Kevin Pietersen, who presumably knows a thing or two about the topic from personal experience, sympathetically shot back, “Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Welcome to Australia buddy!!”
Kohli replied: “Never heard crap like that. EVER”. The response provoked the Indian team management to impose a ban on their players using social networking sites to voice such frank opinions. That didn’t stop Kohli tweeting, but he has carefully ducked underneath any bouncer with possible fire for scandal.