New Delhi, May 22: Indian cricket's pin-up boy and Test skipper Virat Kohli has been rated as the world's sixth most marketable athlete by a British Sports business magazine 'SportsPro'.
Kohli, currently leading Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is on the list of 50 athletes, who have been identified as commercially the most viable sportspersons ahead of the likes of sprint king Usain Bolt and football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another Indian, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal has been placed at the 44th.
Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard tops the list, followed by Brazilian football star Neymar and Masters golf champion Jordan Spieth.
Bouchard, 21, is winner of the Women's Tennis Asscociation's (WTA) Most Improved Player award for the 2014 season. She reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and the Wimbledon final last year.
United States golfer Jordan Spieth was at third while another American swimmer Missy Franklin was at fourth.
Neymar is a two-time topper of the list, having taken the position in 2012 and 2013. Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori was the highest new entry on the list at the eighth place.
Below Kohli, United States basketball star Stephen Curry was at seventh, followed by Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori, British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Bolt in the top 10.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic was placed at 14 while Ronaldo and Messi were at 16th and 22nd respectively.
The only other cricketer in the list, Steven Smith of Australia, got the 45th spot.
The list focuses on marketing potential over the next three years, with athletes from around the world ranked against criteria including age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal.
"As ever, these rankings are not about pinpointing the most commercially valuable athlete in the world today, but rather they are an attempt to identify marketing potential over the next three years," James Emmett, SportsPro editorial director said in a statement on Thursday.
"There is debate every year about who does and doesn't make the list. Our underlying mission is always in identifying athlete marketing bets for the mid-term future. In other words, if you were a sponsor, which athletes are going to provide value for your marketing money, and help build your brand over the next three years?
Top 10 most marketable athletes:
1. Eugenie Bouchard (Tennis)
2. Neymar (Football)
3. Jordan Spieth (Golf)
4. Missy Franklin (Swimming)
5. Lewis Hamilton (F1)
6. Virat Kohli (Cricket)
7. Stephen Curry (Basketball)
8. Kei Nishikori (Tennis)
9. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Athletics)
10. Usain Bolt (Athletics)
We're finding the commercial stars of tomorrow, and they are not necessarily the commercial stars of today," he added.
Athletes across the world were ranked against criteria including age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal, following several weeks of analysis by the SportsPro team and external industry experts, the magazine said.
(With inputs from agencies)