Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop on Wednesday paid a massive compliment to ex-India captain Virat Kohli by comparing him to legendary athletes like LeBron James, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kohli, who is the most followed cricketer in the world, has a massive fanbase in India and across the globe.
The batting legend will turn 35 on November 5 and tributes are already pouring in for King Kohli, who's birthday will coincide with India's eigth match of the ICC World Cup 2023 against South Africa in Kolkata.
"What LeBron James is to Basketball, what Ronaldo and Messi are to football, Virat Kohli is to cricket. Virat has a global fan following," Bishop said on Star Sports.
Cricket returns to Olympics because of Kohli
Hardly anyone would disagree with Bishop's statement as even the International Olympic Committee stated last month that Kohli's popularity is one of the main reasons why they decided to include cricket in the 2028 Olympics Los Angeles.
"My friend here Virat (Kohli) is the third-most followed athlete in the world with 340 million followers on social media. That is more than Le Bron James, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods combined.
"This is the ultimate win-win-win for the LA28, the IOC and cricket community as cricket will be showcased on a global stage to grow beyond the traditional cricket countries," said Niccolo Campriani, Italy's Olympic champion shooter and sports director at LA28.
CAB planning massive celebrations on Kohli's birthday
Meanwhile, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is making grand plans to celebrate Kohli's birthday when India play the Proteas at the Eden Gardens.
Around 70,000 supporters will be provided with free 'Virat Kohli masks' to cheer the ace batter. Apart from distributing masks, the CAB has plan to have a cake-cutting ceremony before the start of the match and felicitate Kohli with a memento.
The match is set to be a full house with all the tickets sold out much in advance. The Eden had a similar atmosphere when maestro Sachin Tendulkar played his 199th Test at the venue in November 2013.