Devbrat Patnaik

We all know cricket is one of the most loved sports in the country and the present captain of the team Virat Kohli has captivated hearts & minds of billions with his brilliant performances over the past years.

Making his first-class debut in 2006, he captained India Under-19s to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, and a few months later, made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19.

Initially having played as a reserve batsman in the Indian team, he soon established himself as a regular player in the ODI middle-order and was even a part of the squad that won the memorable 2011 World Cup in India.

Recently during an exclusive interview with OTV, cricket icon and the former captain Dilip Balwat Vengsarkar was asked on his decision to include Kohli in the senior team. Here’s what the ‘Colonel’ of cricket revealed..

We selected Virat Kohli in 2008 or 2009. Not only me. I was the Chairman of the selection committee; the entire committee was magnanimous on picking both Dhoni as a captain and Kohli as a player.

Kohli was an U-19 player then. I had gone to Australia to watch the ‘Emerging Players’ tournament where India was also participating. He scored a hundred against New Zealand I think. He played very well & I was convinced that here’s a boy who should be groomed.

I came home and told selectors and the then captain MS Dhoni, that this boy is very good and we should pick him. That’s when he was introduced in the senior team.

Kohli’s selection landed me in controversy though, but it’s a past chapter.

The whole nation would be proud of Vengsarkar's decision on Kohli’s selection, for the man has proved more than what was expected of him. Even the world can’t deny.

On Kohli’s 30th birthday, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna for the cricketer.

“AIGF strongly believes that it is only befitting that his efforts in enhancing India's stature & image in the global sporting arena are adequately recognized by bestowing the honour of Bharat Ratna," the letter read.