Ex-India captain and selector reveals the reason behind promoting Virat Kohli to senior team in 2008
Former India captain Virat Kohli roared back to form after putting on a stunning display of stroke-making when he last batted in an international match in the recently-concluded Asia Cup 2022. The maverick batter rolled back the clock and played a vintage knock in India's last match of the campaign against Afghanistan to end his 1,019-day century drought. In what was an imperious knock from start to finish, Kohli smashed 122 not out in 61 balls with the help of 12 boundaries and six sixes.
The swashbuckling Indian batter finished the tournament as the second-leading run-scorer with 276 runs in five matches. Kohli's century also meant that he tied Ricky Ponting for the second-most international centuries (71) and is now 29 behind the mark of Sachin Tendulkar.
From a very young age, Kohli displayed tremendous potential. After leading the Indian U-19 team to the World Cup glory in 2008, Kohli was promoted to the senior national team in the same year. And what has transpired since then will be indelibly etched in the history of the sport.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who was the chairman of selectors in 2008, has now revealed the reason behind picking the maverick batter for the senior team at such a young age.
"It is the vision of selectors. It's not that he scored a 100 (against New Zealand A while playing for India A), but what I admired about him that when I asked him to open the innings, he said 'Ok, I will open the innings". India were chasing some 270 runs in New Zealand and they had some international fast bowlers, a good attack. And we had picked a good emerging players' team. They were all Under-23 and we wanted to pick out of those players... who would play for India later," Vengsarkar told former India cricketer WV Raman on the latter's YouTube channel.
“Virat played so brilliantly. After scoring a 100, he made sure that India won the match. He scored 123 not out. That is when I realised that he had matured. And I had been watching him since his Under-16 days. Then Under-19 and then India. So I knew that this guy was ready and he needs to be picked. We were about to go to Sri Lanka to play ODI series. It was the ideal opportunity to pick this youngster and groom him.”