Virat Kohli might not be one to mince his words against the opposition while on the field of play but the Indian Test captain revealed that his childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma was one person he would always abide by no matter what heights he reaches in world cricket.
Speaking at the launch ceremony of the book titled ‘Driven: The Virat Kohli Story’ written about him by veteran journalist Vijay Lokapally, the 27-year-old came in for huge praise by many Indian legends, including current India coach Anil Kumble.
Born and raised in Delhi, Kohli has developed a strong bond with the South Indian city of Bengaluru with his association with the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise in the IPL and India’s star batsman revealed his wish to continue with the only franchise he has represented in the T20 league till the end of his career, stating that loyalty was a quality he very much followed in his life.
"In relationships, I always look at loyalty. From 1998, I had only one coach (Rajkumar Sharma) and that's never going to change. I have played for one franchise in the IPL (RCB) and that's also never going to change," Kohli said.
Revealing his admiration for his childhood coach, Kohli said he had the utmost respect for Sharma and that he was still afraid to raise objections against his views despite his stature as one of the world’s most prolific batsmen.
"He (Sharma) is the only person I am scared of a good scolding. I can't say anything to him even now and it comes from respect. And it's always good to have someone like that," said Kohli.
Praising Kohli’s leadership abilities and honesty, legendary Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble said that he had already earned his reputation as a future legend of the game.
"I love the way he prepares for his matches. Not only does he lead by example but when he makes a mistake, he has the honesty to admit it. He (Virat) would come up to you and say 'Okay I have made a mistake. Can we discuss?' I believe when he will look back at his wonderful career, he will be really proud of his achievements," Kumble said.
Former Team India manager Ravi Shastri also spoke in a similar manner when talking about his experiences of being in the same dressing room as Kohli.
"Virat is already a great Indian cricketer and on his way towards becoming one of the all-time greats that the world has ever seen. It was a privilege to be a part of that dressing room and what attracted most was his simplicity," Shastri said.
India’s 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev, meanwhile, had a word of advice for Kohli asking him to rein down his aggression a bit and possibly laugh around a bit on the field.
"It's not only about playing cricket but one also needs to have a sense of humour. You need to have the ability to laugh at yourself," he said.
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