Virat Kohli's childhood coach, friends reveal making of all-format legend
New Delh, India: State Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batter Virat Kohli's passion for cricket is undaunting. Coach Rajkumar Sharma spoke about the fearless and passionate attitude of Kohli in the latest episode of RCB Bold Diaries where he narrated an incident from his junior days when Virat went against his mother and the coach's advice to face players much older than him despite getting hit on the chest with the ball at the academy in West Delhi.
"On May 30, 1998, he came to me with his brother and father. Within a few days, we could see that he was different from others, a very active and very naughty guy. He was determined and dedicated and wanted to dominate from the first day. He had a tremendous self-belief that he can do anything," revealed Kohli's childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma.
"Junior teammates could never get Virat out so he came to me and said he wanted to play in the senior group. Despite my hesitation, he kept insisting and then I decided to give him a chance. I was also irritated but he played well. Though he once got hit on the chest, he told his mother I'll play with seniors only come what may. He's special and has god-gifted talent. He has been playing bold from a very young age," added Sharma.
Virat Kohli has been a member of the RCB squad since the beginning of the IPL in 2008. The franchise had for-sighted his talent much before and he has not only revelled but has been a crucial cog to RCB's journey in the League.
Reflecting on Virat's mentality from an early age, childhood friend Shalaj Sondhi stated, "We met in class fifth. Our team had a state match in Una and Virat was playing on 190. He had to complete his 200 runs in that innings and wickets were falling at the other end. So, when I came in to bat, Virat said you just have to stand and I will deliver. He went on to score 250 runs and then I realised he is the next version of the Indian cricket team."
"I have a scrapbook where every friend wrote something in it. They would write about themselves and Virat Kohli has also written. He wrote that he aimed to become an Indian cricketer in 2002 or 2003," said Shalaj.
The coach also recalled a special moment he shared with Virat Kohli. "When Virat Kohli became the captain in all formats, he called me & said 'Sir, I used to come on cycle keeping the kit bag on the front, then we wouldn't have thought I would reach here' - That was a very emotional moment," he revealed.
Virat Kohli is not only doing wonders for RCB, he is also inspiring the younger generation. " I also joined the same academy as Virat Kohli when I shifted to Delhi in 2011. At that time India had just won the World Cup and when I found out that this is the same place where Virat trained, I enrolled. As the years went by, I got to know more about his struggles and the kind of changes he made in himself which really inspired me," concluded RCB batter Anuj Rawat.