I had Backed Virat Kohli When Dhoni, Kirsten Had Not Heard of Him – Dilip Vengsarkar
Former Indian chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has revealed that he had backed the current captain Virat Kohli when MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten had not even heard of him. Kohli was able to break into the Indian team after he had led the Under-19 side to glory. In fact, Kohli could not hit the ground running when he was taking baby steps at the International level.
Furthermore, the talisman batsman was on the verge of getting dropped from the India National Cricket Team. However, the former skipper MS Dhoni had put his weight behind him. Subsequently, Virat Kohli came up with match-winning innings for the team and since then he has never looked back.
Kohli has stood tall to Vengsarkar’s backing.
“Then I picked Virat Kohli in the (national) team straight away. To be honest with you, we used to play (the) Emerging Players tournament in Australia, and that time I was in charge of the selection committee,” Dilip Vengsarkar said while speaking at the launch of the book launching the book ‘Howzzat’ penned by celebrated astrologer Greenstone Lobo in suburban Bandra.
Meanwhile, Dilip Vengsarkar stated that Kohli was able to impress him at first sight when led India to Under-19 World Cup glory. Kohli was showing glimpses of class at the junior level however he was able to turn the tables once he got going at the International circuit.
Kohli impressed Vengsarkar in the Under-19 World Cup.
“And I had gone to Australia to see the match and I had picked him (Virat) because they had won the Under 19 World Cup,'” recalled the former India captain.
On the other hand, the former skipper recalled that Subramaniam Badrinath had to make way for Virat Kohli, who was showing the promise to go big. Kohli had scored a majestic hundred in the first match of the Under-19 World Cup.
“And in the first game itself, he (Virat) scored a hundred (in that tournament). And I was impressed (and thought) he is the boy (and has) exceptional talent. I came back and others had not heard of him
“MS Dhoni was the captain, Gary Kirsten was the coach of the India team and they had not heard of him, so they said we should not pick him now at the moment and let him play few games and I was insisting that you must pick this guy, there is no question and they had to drop (S) Badrinath at that time,” said Vengsarkar, who is fondly known as ‘Colonel’.
Meanwhile, Dilip Vengsarkar also recalled that he had backed Sachin Tendulkar when he was selected in the Mumbai side. Everyone had doubts that Sachin he is too young to get a chance but the former captain had backed him.
“Sachin Tendulkar was picked when I was the captain of the Bombay (now Mumbai) team, everybody was against him (saying) he was too small (young) at that time but I insisted that he (Tendulkar) should be picked,” he remembered.
Dilip Vengsarkar is one of the finest players produced by India and he went on to score 6868 runs in 116 Test matches whereas he amassed 3508 in 129 ODI matches.
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