India captain Virat Kohli has gone on record to credit former chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar for spotting him during the Emerging trophy in Australia and handing him his national selection.
What is also known is that Vengsarkar’s selection committee decided to pick Kohli over Subramaniam Badrinath, a move which did not go down well with the then BCCI treasurer N Srinivasan. Vengsarkar later alleged that cost him his job.
But what was not known was that Vengsarkar also had to face resistance from then skipper MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten before he prevailed over them.
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“Me and my fellow selectors had decided to pick U-23 players for India A in the four nation Emerging players trophy. Around the same time India had won the U-19 World Cup and Virat Kohli was the captain.
“I picked him in the tournament and went to Brisbane to watch him. He used to open the batting at the time. He scored 123 against New Zealand who had many more Test players in their side. I saw him bat and felt we should pick him for India. I felt he was ready.
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“India was to play in Sri Lanka next in a one-day series. I thought that was the right opportunity.
“My fellow selectors told me we go by what you say. But Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni told me, ‘no we haven’t seen him play. Let’s keep the same team going’. I insisted, even though you haven’t seen him play, I have and we will have to pick him,” he recalled at an event in Mumbai.
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Kohli was dismissed for 12 in his debut match against Sri Lanka in 2008, but made his mark with a half-century in the fourth game of the series in what was a historic ODI series win for India in Sri Lanka.
Kohli then went on to conquer the world with his batting and eventually succeeded Dhoni as captain of India in all three formats.
Since his debut, Kohli has amassed 5554 runs in 66 Tests with 21 hundreds while in 208 ODIs he has slammed 9588 runs including 35 tons, which is the second most number of centuries in the 50-over format behind Sachin Tendulkar (49).
In 57 T20Is Kohli has scored 1983 runs with 18 fifties. Kohli has 56 international hundreds in international cricket and is the fastest batsman to score 17,000 international runs. he is also the only batsman in the world to average more than 50 in all three formats.
Kohli is joint-second with Sourav Ganguly in terms of most Test wins as India captain with 21 behind Dhoni (27).
Kohli also equalled former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting’s record of nine consecutive Test series victories as captain after India clinched the three-match series against Sri Lanka 1-0 in December last year. Under Ponting, Australia won nine straight series’ from 2005 to 2008.