Virat Kohli is all set to unlock another achievement on March 4 as the first Test of the two-match series between India and Sri Lanka is going to be his 100th. Kohli's Under-19 teammates, including Iqbal Abdulla, Sreevats Goswami, have shared interesting memories about him ahead of his 100th Test.
Former Indian captain Virat Kohli will play his 100th Test match when he takes the field against Sri Lanka in the first of the two-match series against Sri Lanka, starting from March 4 at IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
Kohli will become the 12th Indian player to achieve the milestone, after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma.
Ahead of the historic match, Kohli's teammates from the 2008 U-19 World Cup-winning squad shared a few memories with the Indian Express regarding him, which are weird, hilarious and even heartwarming.
Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, who has played alongside Kohli at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as well in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said that once Kohli forgot to change his fielding position, and they still have a laugh about it on their Whatsapp group named ‘Under 19 Champions’.
“As captain, Kohli had got so involved in a World Cup game that he forgot he had changed my field position. I was at deep midwicket and when the batsman hit the ball to square-leg, he sent me to field there. Soon, the ball went to midwicket, and Kohli lost his temper. I had to remind him of the sequence of events. We still have a laugh about that,” Abdulla recalled.
Tanmay Srivastava, the hero of the 2008 Under-19 World Cup final, talked about people's perception of Kohli back then.
“People used to say, ‘look, he has attitude issues’. But when he began to perform, his attitude became aggression in their eyes! Many former players used to say, ‘bada khalifa ban gaya hai (he has become a big player)’. It was a comment on his attitude, as they saw it. But with consistent performances, everything changed. Now the same people say he is a confident guy,” Srivastava explained.
Pradeep Sangwan, currently Gujarat Titans pacer and Kohli's former Under-19 and Delhi’s temamte expressed his surprise at the sudden change in Kohli's eating habits.
“He used to eat a lot. Mutton-rice, everything. He would even walk for kilometres to go to various food joints; the only thing that mattered was taste.
“In 2010, when he came to play for the Delhi Ranji team, everything was different. He was eating boiled food! He wouldn’t drink more than 200 ml of liquid at a time. Rice-mutton curry had been replaced with diet food. I was surprised at how much he had changed himself,” Sangwan remembered.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami heaped praise on Kohli’s determination towards cricket.
“I used to meet him during the IPL and he never missed his fitness session. Most of the time, I saw him working out in the gym. His focus was way ahead of all of us. Often, cricketers do get lazy and have a ‘cheat day’ but Virat would never do that,” Shreevats said.