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‘You need to stop calling me that word’: Virat Kohli’s appeal to boycott ’embarrassing’ ‘King’ tag

Virat Kohli has urged fans not to call him ‘King’ as he finds it very ’embarrassing’ during the high-profile RCB Unbox event ahead of IPL 2024.

The Royal Challengers Bengaluru embarked on a new journey during the high-profile RCB unbox event at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday. Not only did the franchise ring in a new change, replacing Bangalore with Bengaluru, the new jersey with an added touch of blue signifies a new era for one of the three OG franchises. And yet, on top of these two new additions, Virat Kohli emerged as the show stealer as he made a heartfelt and earnest request to fans during the closing stages of the event.

There is a strong chance that Virat Kohli fans will not entertain this request of his. (PTI)

It’s not often that Kohli fans do not listen to Virat, but this one could be an exception. The former RCB captain urged the public to do away with the moniker of ‘King’ to describe him. The label of ‘King’ was bestowed on Kohli many years back, by the media and broadcasting channels before the fans wholeheartedly embraced it. If Sachin Tendulkar was ‘god’, Kohli became their ‘King’, but now, after all these years, Kohli wants to end the movement once and for all as the term embarrasses him.

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The crowd waited in anticipation for their beloved Kohli to speak, and once Smriti Mandhana and her fellow RCB teammates were celebrated for their WPL title, Alan Walker and Raghu Bishnoi serenaded the crowd, the new jersey was unveiled, and the name change was announced, it was time for the most eagerly-awaited segment of the evening: Kohli addressing the crowd.

Also Read: Virat Kohli and RCB men welcome Smriti Mandhana’s WPL champions with golden guard of honour, gesture gives goosebumps

“It is lovely to be back again,” he started after the host Danish Sait asked him, “How is the King feeling?” The crowd went berserk as the first words came out of his mouth. So, he had to stop for a second. To build it up further, the lights in the stadium began flickering, after which Kohli finally continued, “Let me talk. Guys, we have to get to Chennai tonight. We have a chartered flight so we don’t have time (laughs). Firstly, you need to stop calling me that word [King]. I was telling Faf that it is very embarrassing for me when you call me that name every year, just call me Virat.”

Here goes the clip:

And just like that. Kohli’s plea could mark the end of another era. First, he stepped down as India’s captain, did the same with RCB… and now wants people to get rid of a label that has become synonymous with Kohli. But whether his request is indeed entertained will be interesting to see. Many years ago, Tendulkar had the same request for his fans, but even today, almost 11 years after he is retired, many relate to him as the ‘God of cricket’. And given how Kohli enjoys the same amount of love and adulation from his generation of the crowd as Sachin, if not more, rest assured, will continue to be called ‘King’.

How did Virat Kohli become ‘King’?

An Indian cricket fan residing in Australia named Kunal Gandhi, had in an interview claimed that he was the one to first use the word ‘King’ to describe Kohli.

“During India’s tour of Australia in 2014, I wanted to gift him a jersey but did not want to write only his name without an adequate adjective. He was in form then and suddenly the word King came to my mind and I presented him with a jersey with his name King Kohli on it. He gave his autograph on the jersey and people have started calling him King Kohli,” he told Daily Observer.

An ardent cricket fan, Gandhi is fond of collecting cricketing memorabilia, as per The Observer, and even recalled reminding Kohli of the ‘King’ tag during India’s tour of Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2018. “I reminded Kohli about the King Kohli jersey to which he thanked me again. He also advised my son to keep working hard and wished him to become a cricketer,” the website reported Gandhi as saying.


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