Virat Kohli’s love for food was such that it almost once landed him and his former teammate in trouble. From flipping the Sydney crowd to expressing gratitude on his 100th Test match, Virat Kohli has come a long way from a brash, aggressive youngster starting out in 2011 to become India’s most successful Test captain.
He is still aggressive on the field, and rightly so, but once he is off it, if his peers are to be believed, Virat Kohli is the most fun-loving and energetic person to be around. His kind gestures towards his fans and likers are heart-warming and Virat Kohli, in the true sense, is the kind of role model young and budding cricketers should look up to.
Virat Kohli Was A Foodie Recalls 2008 U19 World Cup Teammate Pradeep Sangwan
However, the path to greatness did not come easy to Virat Kohli. In fact, the transformation from a promising player to one of the best in the world began back in 2012 when Virat Kohli underwent a diet change.
Growing up in the colonies of West Delhi, Virat Kohli was always a big foodie, but when the time came, he realized that he can no longer persist with the same lifestyle if he was to be the best in the world. So out went the fried food items, and dishes such as butter chicken, to be replaced by a lot more disciplined meals.
His former India Under-19 teammate Pradeep Sangwan has revealed that the lure of tasty food was something Virat Kohli could not resist during his early years. In fact, Virat Kohli was willing to go the extra mile and put himself and Pradeep Sangwan at risk only to get some of his favourite street food like cuisine.
“He had been my room partner for seven-eight years in junior cricket. He used to love food, street food especially. He was a foodie, korma rolls, chicken rolls were his favourite. We were in South Africa with the India under 19 team, and someone told him that you get nice mutton roll at some place, but it’s not in a secure neighbourhood,” Pradeep Sangwan wrote.
“Our driver too told us that food is nice but recently some fight took place around there and someone chopped someone’s hand there. I got scared, but he took me there too. We ate and few random guys chased us, but we just drove our car back and only stopped after reaching our place.”
Pradeep Sangwan was a hero in India’s U-19 World Cup win in 2008. The team was led by the current Indian captain Virat Kohli. Interestingly, Delhi Daredevils got the first chance to pick from the players draft of U-19 players in IPL 2008 and they chose Pradeep Sangwan over Virat Kohli. Now, Pradeep Sangwan has become a net bowler for the same franchise. Pradeep Sangwan was also suspended by BCCI in 2013 for failing the dope test.
Pradeep Sangwan Recalls Virat Kohli Followed A Strict Diet In His Early India Days
Pradeep Sangwan recalled how in 2012, just when Virat Kohli was beginning to peak, the India batter decided to adopt an entirely different lifestyle in terms of his diet. Virat Kohli had played a couple of scintillating knocks in 2012 – 133 not out against Sri Lanka and a career-best 183 against Pakistan, but in order to establish himself as an all-time great, Virat Kohli knew he had to make certain sacrifices.
“But in 2012 he came with a plan where he began look after his fitness. He began to follow a strict diet. He was determined to lose his weight, and wanted to shed few kilos.
“He wanted to be a good fielder, he was a safe fielder then too but in terms of reflexes, he felt he was not up to the mark. He liked to bat for hours in the nets and then he would go do some more knocking,” mentioned Pradeep Sangwan.
“We had discussed that he needs to reduce his weight many times. He began to do it on his own and in the next three months he reduced 12 kgs. Inside the dressing room, his meals changed.
“From mutton-rice, he started bringing all the boiled stuff. Boiled sprouts, egg, green salads, dry fruits. He used to eat by weighing his portions sometimes. He ate cereals in the night, sometimes fruit, brought his own chips.”
Pradeep Sangwan was the leader of the bowling attack for India’s golden Under-19 batch of 2008 — a side that included future international cricketers like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Manish Pandey, and Saurabh Tiwary. Pradeep Sangwan was arguably India’s finest bowler of the tournament, finishing with 8 wickets.