Virat Kohli’s meteoric rise from India’s U-19 ranks to being one of the most sought-after sportspersons of the current generation has been a well-documented journey. His ever-increasing popularity refuses to die down, even as he continues to break records the world over, without breaking a sweat. The relentless motivation that drives Kohli isn’t a manufactured attribute; it is an innate quality that the Delhi-lad has carried since his formative years in the game.
In Virat Kohli’s biography, Driven, Vijay Lokapally talks about how self-belief drove Kohli even as a budding cricketer, who was willing to try out anything and everything just to stay a step ahead of the opposition.
During the promotional video for the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2008, Virat Kohli is seen describing himself as a “quick bowler”, although he didn’t have any prior experience of delivering with the new ball, nor had he shown any interest in becoming a pacer. It was plain difficult to keep Kohli out of the spotlight.
An interesting anecdote regarding Kohli’s bowling stated in the book is the manner in which he took his first international wicket, off a delivery that was not even a legitimate one.
The Indian team was experiencing a horrid summer in England in 2011. Humiliated by a margin of 4-0 in the Test series, the team was playing a one-off T20I before the ODI series.
Kohli, not part of the Test setup back then, had joined the team for the limited-overs leg. Riding on debutant Rahul Dravid’s 31 and Suresh Raina’s quickfire 33, the Indian team managed to put 170 on the board. In response, the hosts got off to a flier, stacking up 58 runs in the first six overs itself.
With England needing 110 from 78 balls, MS Dhoni threw the ball to the 22-year-old Kohli. Bowling for the first time in T20Is, his first delivery slid down the leg side. Kevin Pietersen, trying to attack the bowler straight away, charged down the track but ended up missing the ball completely. Dhoni, who hadn’t had an enjoyable summer behind the stumps until then, removed the bails in a jiffy. Pietersen was found outside his crease, and Kohli had pocketed a wicket, albeit, off a wide delivery. He thus became the first bowler to take a wicket off his zeroth delivery of his T20I career.
Published 27 Oct 2016, 14:04 IST
Now the Test captain of the national side, Kohli sometimes likes to roll his arm over, trying out different variations in an action, which according to the book, resembles that of former Kiwi all-rounder Chris Harris. He currently has eight international wickets to his name: four in ODIs and four in T20Is. Recently, he took a wicket off the first delivery he bowled in the World T20 2016, snaring Johnson Charles in the semi-finals, a match India eventually lost.