What's the story?
Dilip Vengsarkar, former chief selector of the BCCI, opened up his backing of Virat Kohli in 2008, and how MS Dhoni, who was the captain of the side back then, and Gary Kirsten, who was the coach, were against the decision.
According to Vengsarkar, both Dhoni and Kirsten were keen on picking Tamil Nadu's Subramaniam Badrinath instead.
"There was an Emerging Players tour to Australia. The selection committee decided to include only U-23 players for this tour. That year, we had won the U-19 World Cup as well and Virat Kohli was captain of that team. We included him in the Emerging Players team. I had gone to Brisbane to see those matches,” Vengsarkar recalled while speaking at an event in Mumbai.
"Virat opened the innings against West Indies who had a few Test cricketers in their ranks, but we had none and in that match, Virat scored 123 not out. I felt that we should play this guy in the Indian team. I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team,” Vengsarkar added.
In case you didn't know...
Virat Kohli ended up making his debut for the Indian cricket team against Sri Lanka in 2008. He did not have a great series, scoring just a single half-century in the entire series.
Vengsarkar went on to mention that he knew that Dhoni and Kirsten wanted Badrinath in the side. He also went on to say that since Badrinath was a Chennai Super Kings player at the time, N Srinivasan, who was the BCCI Treasurer at the time, was upset with the fact that he was not selected to be a part of the squad.
Vengsarkar was sacked the very next day, with Kris Srikkanth taking over as the selector.
At that point in time, Subramaniam Badrinath was in good form and it would have made sense to pick him in the side. However, Vengsarkar had every right to pick Kohli on the side instead. He had a good tour in Australia and was fresh off the U-19 World Cup victory as well. It was a harsh and wrong decision by Srinivasan to sack Vengsarkar.
Kohli is currently one of the best batsmen in the world, and it all began back in 2008 when he was given a chance as a 19-year-old.