Off The Field

Former BCCI chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar reveals the story behind Virat Kohli’s India selection

Written by Vipin Darwade

It was a historic moment for the Indian cricket team on Friday, March 4 as former skipper Virat Kohli achieved a huge milestone of playing the 100th Test match for his nation. Kohli was presented with a special cap in a felicitation ceremony before the game by head coach Rahul Dravid.

Kohli, who made his debut for India in 2008, following the success at the U-19 level, having taken his side to the World Cup glory in the youth tournament, has averaged of 50.4 in 99 Test matches before this game and is also on the verge of the 8000-run mark in the longest format of the game.

1983 World Cup winner and former BCCI chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar recalled Kohli’s selection in the senior team. In a video uploaded by BCCI, Vengsarkar said, “I had watched Virat for the first time at the Under-16 tournament when he played for Delhi schools and it was in Kolkata. He didn’t score many runs but he was very impressive. And later on, of course, he played Under-19 for India and did extremely well. They won the World Cup. And then the emerging players’ tournament was happening in Australia.”

“I was the chairman of the selection committee. And we had picked Under-23 boys in the tournament because what we felt was that emerging players should be under 23 because they are the future of Indian cricket. That’s how we picked Virat Kohli,” he added.

Kohli became the 12th Indian player to achieve the milestone and joined the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Ishant Sharma in the elite list.

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Vipin Darwade