India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday revealed how late former Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had motivated him after he lost his father when he was only 18. Speaking on the occasion of renaming Feroz Shah Kotla stadium as Arun Jaitley Stadium and unveiling of the stand named after him, Kohli said: “It is more special. It is happening at the same time as the stadium being named after Arun Jaitley Ji.”
“I know Jaitley Ji as a person who came to my house and encouraged me when my father passed away. He also motivated me. So, I had a special connection with him. He was a very good person. So, it is a proud moment that both the things happened at the same time,” he said.
Prem Kohli passed away in December 2006. At the time the recently-turned 18-year-old Kohli was playing for Delhi against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy and went on to score 90. Delhi were in dire states losing five wickets for only 59 on board. It was then the big partnership with between Kohli and Punit Bisht (156) then saved Delhi from a defeat.
“I was playing a four day game at the time and was supposed to resume batting the next day when this (father passed) happened at 230 odd in the morning. We all woke up but had no idea what to do. I literally saw him breathe his last,” Kohli had told Graham Bensinger in a freewheeling interview.
Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and the entire Indian team were present on the occasion.
Kohli thanked everyone. “I never thought that I will be honoured at a big stage like this. Thank you so much Rajat Sir and Amit Shah ji for doing the honours. Also, my team with whom I spend most of my time, a special group of people …. It is a very proud moment for me and my whole family.”