India’s current Test captain and flamboyant batsman Virat Kohli has become a household since he burst into the cricketing scene in 2008, when he captained Indian to a win in the Under-19 World Cup as an eighteen-year-old. Within eight years, Kohli has taken giant strides in international cricket, with superb batting displays across all formats, to become the poster boy of Indian cricket. But amidst all the popularity Kohli receives from all corners of the country, not many know that the 27-year old has a peculiar nickname ‘Chiku’.
Vijay Lokapally, a senior journalist with a leading news daily, The Hindu, has recently published a biography on Kohli titled Driven: The Virat Kohli Story, where he has revealed to the world how the Delhi-lad received the nickname. According to Lokapally, Kohli received this rather funny nickname during his days as a junior cricketer.
Lokapally wrote in his book: "The Delhi team was playing Ranji Trophy match in Mumbai. Virat has not even played a total of 10 first-class matches. He was a part of set-up that included players he had looked up to -- (Virender) Sehwag, (Gautam) Gambhir, (Rajat) Bhatia and (Mithun) Manhas. He was more than happy to be sharing the dressing-room with them.
"One evening, he returned to the hotel with his hair nicely cropped. He has spotted a fancy hair salon close by and given himself a new look.
"How is it?" Kohli asked excitedly as he ran into a couple of younger colleagues.
"Not bad, you look like a Chikoo (Sapodilla)," joked Ajit Chowdhary, the assistant coach looking from a distance.
"The name struck. Chikoo. Virat didn't mind it all."
The nickname has stuck with Kohli since that Ranji Trophy game. Even during his days with Team India, Yuvraj Singh, who is considered Virat’s close buddy, has been seen referring to Kohli as ‘Chiku’.
Currently, Kohli is playing a key role in helping India win the 5-match ODI series against New Zealand. In the first ODI at Dharamsala, Kohli batted brilliantly to score an unbeaten 85, taking India to a comfortable win. Earlier in the Test series, Kohli led India to a clean sweep against the Kiwis, which also took Team India to the number one rankings in Test cricket, dethroning arch-rivals Pakistan.
The Delhi-lad will be looking to replicate his fine form when India next take on New Zealand in the second ODI in New Delhi on October 20.