Cricketer Virat Kohli - India's latest sex symbol?

Virat Kohli

He loves the Aston Martin, Ed Hardy shirts and is the only Indian cricketer with heavily tattooed arms (a Golden Dragon on his forearm is apparently for luck). He chats about sunburn parties in Goa and frequents clubs in Delhi's GK-1. He's like any other 22-year-old boy interested in girls, but was the only one lucky enough to flirt with actress Genelia D'Souza on national TV. Whether by choice, or accidentally, Virat Kohli is Team India's latest sex symbol.

One of the most promising batsmen of recent times, he burst into the limelight after a memorable performance in 2006, his debut Ranji season. One such day was a turning point in his life. His father who suffered from a brain tumour died of a stroke that morning.

Virat went to the field, scored 90 runs and came back for the funeral rites. "He looked blank but continued to bat," a player told The Indian Express then. "He changed after that day," his mother Saroj Kohli has been quoted saying. Cornerstone, the sports PR company who signed him, closely guards the secrets of his off-field personal life. "He completed his Class 12," insists an employee when asked about his schooling.

Virat, who was raised in Uttam Nagar, trained at the West Delhi Cricket Academy since its inception in 1998, and its website has posted him as one of their success stories. At the same time, he used to play matches at the Sumit Dogra Academy in Vasundhara Enclave near Noida. Boys who trained there saw a hero in Virat. He stood out among the eager beavers as well as the talented.

"Virat was gifted and had very strong arms, a feature that you can't make out from his physical frame till he starts playing. Everytime he played, he scored high," says one of his former mates. It is this on-field personality, called noticeable by sports commentators that has made him a poster boy of youthful sexiness. What helps is the reluctance he portrays when it comes to being media friendly.

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