India’s cricketers are some of the most famous and best-paid players in the world, but that doesn’t stop them from dreaming of a life as a footballer.
As with a lot of other teams around the world, the India cricket team often warm-up for matches by practicing their skills and kicking a ball around, despite a number of high-profile injuries in other teams in recent years.
With the IPL currently going on at the same time as the Premier League, which teams will the big India players be following?
Following on from our look at England’s football-supporting cricketers last year, Cricket Bet India has done some digging into the India football relationship…
Where else to start but with the King of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli? The batting legend is one of the big followers of football in the team, and has had high profile interactions on social media. He has spoken and met with Harry Kane after the England striker tweeted a picture of him playing cricket, but Kohli is a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo which means he will currently be following Manchester United’s results very closely.
@Cristiano Thanks for the tweet . You are an absolute legend.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 13, 2014
The two were in close proximity recently too, with Ronaldo making his second United debut at Old Trafford on the weekend Kohli and his team-mates pulled out of the fifth Test over the road denying fans a rare treat of two all-time sporting legends in action at the same time.
If Kohli follows the fortunes of a specific player more closely than a team, Rohit Sharma is the complete opposite as a big fan of Real Madrid.
A classy player with bat in hand, Rohit showed his class off the pitch last year when celebrating Real’s 34th league title in a replica shirt. As captain of the most successful IPL team, it’s only right he also supports the most successful LaLiga and Champions League side too.
The infectious wicketkeeper-batsman – one of the stars of cricket’s future – and recently let it slip that he is a Liverpool fan while on tour of England.
Rishabh Pant was pictured in a Liverpool kit in a snap with some other members of the India touring party. He is clearly a big football fan, also being pictured at Wembley watching England v Germany at Euro 2020.
Another player who has firmly nailed his colours to the mast, Rahul is a big Arsenal fan and even has a shirt with his name and number on the back of it.
He clearly enjoyed his trip to the Emirates in 2018, posing for pictures pitchside with Danny Welbeck and Bernd Leno before showing off some of his own skills on the touchline with Umesh Yadav.
One of the most popular young players in the Indian game and someone who undoubtedly has a bit of swag, Pandya could easily pass for a footballer.
He is another who follows Manchester United and was treated to a gift from the club which appears to be one of his most treasured possessions.
This is going straight up on my wall!#SportingGulf https://t.co/6nUi5RANKb
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) June 21, 2018
He has a few other fellow supporters too, with Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal and Vijay Shankar all pictured at Old Trafford during the 2019 Cricket World Cup, while Yuvraj Singh is also a big Manchester United fan and recently showed his delight at the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 17, 2019
He might have been making a splash in international cricket over the past 12 months but things aren’t quite going so well in terms of football for Shubman Gill, who was supporting Barcelona as long ago as 2015 – long before the demise of the current day.
Here he is in better times showing his support for the Catalan giants.
To round things off we have Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Though you may not instantly associate him as a major football fan, he has received support from German champions Bayern Munich and was sent a special Diwali gift five years ago.
— Ajinkya Rahane (@ajinkyarahane88) October 30, 2016
For all the latest tips and features on the IPL, please visit https://www.cricketbetindia.com/match-predictions/.