“After scoring a 100…”: Why the former captain picked Virat Kohli for Team India in 2008

“After scoring a 100…”: Why the former captain picked Virat Kohli for Team India in 2008

File photo of Virat Kohli© AFP

Virat Kohli is currently a legend in Indian cricket. Not only does he have the second-most tons (71) in international cricket, but he is also regarded as one of the greatest ever in Indian cricket. From an early age, he showed promise. He led India to 2008 Under-19 World Cup victory and made his ODI debut in the same year. Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar was the chairman of selectors at the time and explained why he picked a young Kohli for the senior India team.

Vengsarkar, a prolific batsman during his playing days, spoke about the India A match against New Zealand A in 2008.

“It’s the point of view of the selectors. It’s not that he scored 100, but what I admired about him, when I asked him to open the innings, he said ‘Okay, I’ll open the innings’. India were chasing around 270 in New Zealand and they had some international fast bowlers, a good attack. And we picked a good team of emerging players. They were all under-23s and we wanted to pick from among the players who would play for India later.”

“Virat played very well. After scoring 100, he made sure India win the match. He scored an unbeaten 123. That’s when I realized he had matured. And I’ve been watching him since his U-16 days. Then the Under-19s and then India. So I knew this guy was ready and he would have to be picked. We were going to go to Sri Lanka to play the one-day series. It was the ideal opportunity to pick and groom this youngster. . “

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