The 2023 World Cup has marked the end of a significant partnership in Indian cricket. Virat Kohli and Bunty Sajdeh, founder of the talent management company Cornerstone, have decided to go their separate ways. The reason for the split remains unclear, but sources indicate that Kohli is in the process of establishing his own company.
“Yes, Kohli and Bunty have parted ways after a very long and successful partnership. Over the years, there have been many other cricketers who have parted ways with Cornerstone, including Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, and Shubman Gill. But Virat and Cornerstone were inseparable. Now, that relationship is over too,” an industry source revealed to CricketNext.
In 2020, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions partnered with Cornerstone to form Dharma Cornerstone Agency (DCA), venturing into the talent management space. However, Kohli’s partnership with Cornerstone continued independently, and the newly formed JV played no role in it.
“The standing joke all along used to be about how it was Kohli who ran Cornerstone, not Bunty,” shared those familiar with the situation.
The 2023 #WorldCup has brought to an end one of Indian cricket’s longstanding partnerships. #ViratKohli𓃵 and his Jerry Maguire, Cornerstone founder Bunty Sajdeh, have parted ways https://t.co/cD5awWN0ai
— Sahil Malhotra (@Sahil_Malhotra1) November 20, 2023
Beyond managing Kohli’s commercial interests and off-field brand value and presence, Bunty was known to be Virat’s close confidant and was often seen by his side at major cricket events. Together, they secured lucrative deals with top companies, including the Rs 100-crore agreement with Puma.
However, there were rumors of Cornerstone prioritizing Kohli’s interests over those of other athletes under their management. Kohli joined Cornerstone over a decade ago and has maintained a close relationship with Bunty ever since. As a result, Cornerstone was forced to let go of athletes like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Shubman Gill, and others who felt that the company was primarily focused on Virat and not their interests.
Cornerstone still manages a roster of star athletes, including PV Sindhu, Sania Mirza, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, and India U19 captain Yash Dhull. However, their portfolio is significantly smaller than it once was, with Rohit, Rahul, Rahane, and Gill having moved on. Cornerstone’s portfolio, now in partnership with Dharma, has a strong Bollywood presence, with Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, and others on their roster.