Virat Kohli, the former Indian captain, is widely regarded as one of the best batters in modern cricket. Kohli, who has 70 international centuries to his name, debuted for India in an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2008, and was a key player in India's World Cup-winning campaign in 2011 and Champions Trophy victory two years later.
Kohli ruled the roost for his state side Delhi, where his journey began in 2002, prior to his exploits with India. Kohli first played for the Delhi U15 team when he was 15 years old, and four years later he made his first-class debut for the team.
Pradeep Sangwan, Kohli's former Delhi teammate who most recently played for the Gujarat Titans in the 2022 Indian Premier League, has now recalled an interesting incident from Kohli's U17 days. Kohli, according to Sangwan, was a very emotional person when it came to cricket, and he would often cry when he didn't get the runs from his bat. When asked to recall an incident from their U17 match in Punjab, Sangwan mentioned one.
“We were playing in an U17 match in Punjab. He (Kohli) hadn’t been scoring big in the past 2-3 innings. We had a coach named Ajit Chaudhary who used to call him ‘Cheeku’. Virat was the main player of our team, and Ajit sir funnily suggested, ‘let’s tell him he will not play in the next match’. We all joined in on the prank,” Sangwan recalled in an interview with news agency.
“In the team meeting, sir didn’t announce Virat’s name. He went to his room and started crying! He phone-called sir and said I’ve scored a 200 and a 250.. he had scored big in that season, to be honest. It’s just that he didn’t get enough runs in the past 2-3 innings. He got so emotional he even phone-called Rajkumar sir (Virat’s childhood coach)!” Sangwan further revealed.
“Then, he came to me and asked, ‘Tell me Sangwan, what’s wrong? I scored so many runs this season’. I told him, ‘Yes yes, that’s very wrong!’. He wasn’t able to sleep all night as well. He said, “No, I don’t want to sleep. What’s the point of sleeping when I’m not playing?’ Then, I told him that he’s playing. It was all a prank!” said Sangwan.