The sports brand Puma has dismissed reports regarding Virat Kohli ending his partnership with the company. Karthik Balagopalan, the managing director of Puma India, affirmed in an official statement that Kohli “continues” to maintain his affiliation with the brand.
“PUMA’s relationship with Virat Kohli is long-standing and continues,” Balagopalan said in an official release.
A report from CNBCTV18 had earlier stated that Kohli will end his 8-year-long association with Puma India and is expected to join ties with Agilitas Sports Pvt Ltd, a company founded by former Puma India managing director Abhishek Ganguly.
Kohli’s association with Puma began with a whopping INR 110 crore deal in 2017; the brand has been one of the country’s leading sports and athleisure units.
“It’s a privilege to be part of a great list of athletes that Puma has. Not just today’s icons like Usain Bolt but also the brand’s rich history with Pele, Maradona, Thierry Henry, and others,” Virat Kohli had said after signing the deal with Puma in February 2017.
The renowned Indian batter stands as one of the most prominent figures in global sports; his social media presence also remains top-notch, as he is currently the most-followed Indian athlete on Instagram and the most-followed Asian on the platform. Overall, he currently stands 16th in the list of most-followed accounts on Instagram.
Kohli was recently adjudged the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2023, following his record-breaking performance in the ODI World Cup in October-November. He is currently part of the Indian team in all three formats, making a comeback to the T20I side last month during the series against Afghanistan.
The 35-year-old, however, is currently away from action due to personal reasons and missed the opening two Tests of the series against England. It remains to be seen whether he returns ahead of the third Test, which starts February 15 in Rajkot.