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Former India chief selector reveals story behind Virat Kohli's selection

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 June 2020, 11:31 IST

Former India chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has talked about his early impression of Virat Kohli that convinced him the youngster could be the future of the Indian cricket. Virat Kohli first featured for India in 2008 just a few months after guiding the U-19 team to the World Cup crown.

Despite the fact that Kohli got off to a slow start in his career, he continued to get better and kept learning from his mistakes. At present, after a stretch of 12 years.Virat Kohli is one of the biggest names in the sport and there are not many who could match up to his level in the modern era.

Dilip Vengsarkar looked back to the qualities that he observed in the Indian skipper that led him to pick him in the team.

“I had watched Virat Kohli, who was playing for Delhi at the time, in a U-16 match against Bombay in Kolkata. He was 15 years old at the time. His captain was Tejashwi Yadav. He looked very good,” Vengsarkar said.

“In the U-19 World Cup, he led the team to a great victory. He was in good form, he scored runs also, he led the team also very well. Then, there was an Emerging Players Tournament in Australia, where New Zealand and Australia participate ever year.

“I was the chairman of the selection committee at the time. We decided that we must pick players for the tournament who are finished players, who would play for India very soon. Especially U-23 boys. We picked Virat Kohli in that team,” Vengsarkar recalled.

On 18th July, India Emerging Players team met the New Zealand Emerging Players team. On this day, Virat Kohli’s destiny was written.

“I had gone to watch the match against New Zealand. Glenn Turner was there, Greg Chappell was sitting with me. He was in charge of the Australia A team at the time.

“In that match, the Kiwis had scored 240 or 250 (248/6). Virat was asked to open the innings. He scored 123* (120*, actually). I know the exact scores, I was watching every ball,” Vengsarkar said.

“After scoring his hundred, he did not give away his wicket, he remained unbeaten and went on to win the match for his side. That really impressed me. And there I thought here is a boy who must be pushed in the Indian team because he was mentally mature. We picked him and the rest is history,” Vengsarkar added.

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First published: 14 June 2020, 11:31 IST