India skipper Virat Kohli was at his candid best when teammate Mayank Agarwal quizzed him about things both on and off the field in a freewheeling chat on the latter’s show ‘Open Nets with Mayank’.
In the second installment of the video, uploaded on BCCI.tv, Mayank asked Kohli as to why the skipper picked him during the crucial Australia tour of 2018. He became the 295th man to represent India in the longest format and that too in the Boxing Day Test.
“Abe tu mujhe apne tareef ke liye bulaya hai kya yahan pe? Show pe bulaunga and apni tareef karwaunga (Have you called me to talk about you only. It’s like I’ll call him on my show and make him speak good things about me),” Kohli laughed when Mayank asked him why he was picked for the Australia tour.
“For me the biggest marker is how a person approaches a game. So for example when you opened and we made (Hanuma) Vihari open with you…we had seen Vihari the way he played. He would come towards the ball, he was brave, he was sure of himself,” Kohli said.
“And the first opportunity was presented to him he said ‘I am going to do it’. That to me matters more than anything else because I opened in my first series for India and I hadn’t opened before. I said yes to an opportunity and things worked out fine for me.
“So a guy who wants to get into the difficult stuff will come out either with his head high or learning, there is no loss in that. So that is what stood out.
“I had seen you play at RCB and I knew you would play international bowlers with absolute conviction. You were performing well in first-class cricket for a while and in a dominating way,” he added.
Mayank then asked him about the famous photograph in which Kohli is seen lifting Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders after India won the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium.
“Feeling was firstly of gratitude that we have won the World Cup. Invariably, everyone’s feeling was centered around Paaji (Tendulkar) because we knew this was his last chance to win a World Cup,” Kohli said.
“Whatever he had done for the country for so many years, n number of games he won for India and gave us motivation and inspiration.
“This was I guess a gift from all of us. Prior to this moment, he always kept giving, but at this moment it all came to a fulfilment,” he added.
Mayank also quizzed his about the time when he replaced wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps briefly during a match against Bangladesh in 2015.
“Kabhi Mahi bhai se puchiyo how did this happen (Try and ask Mahi Bhai as to how did this happen). He said ‘yaar do teen over just keep wickets (Mate please keep wickets for couple of overs)’. I was keeping wickets and also adjusting the field,” Kohli revealed.
“Then I understood he has a lot on his plate when he is on the field because he has to focus on every ball and also adjust the field.
“The one problem was Umesh was bowling and he was bowling gas. I thought naak pe lag jaegy ball (what if I get hit in the face) and I wanted to wear a helmet but then thought bohot beizati ho jaegy (it would be very humiliating),” he added.