India captain Virat Kohli shared an interesting anecdote related to his father Prem Kohli, refecting the senior Kohli’s massive influence on his son’s cricketing journey. Speaking to India teammate Dinesh Karthik in an interview for Sky Sports, Kohli reminisced how his father once refused to pay bribe to make him play in Delhi’s junior cricket scene.
That incident, Kohli said, laid the foundation for his own value system in life. The modern-day batting giant recalled in the interview of how his innate hunger and desire to score truckload of runs came from a very young age because of the competition around, but he never opted for an unfair route to progress through the ranks, thanks to his father’s support and learnings from him.
“The beautiful thing about my journey from a very young age group has been that I was part of an academy where no one was talking about that academy or that club. So for me, the only way to up was, if someone is getting a hundred, I have to get 200. Otherwise, no one is going to notice me,” Kohli told Karthik.
“I have had that fire inside me all the time. And that’s exactly what I did to come up the ranks, I scored so many runs that people could not ignore me and that was my only driving force. And that actually came from the example that my father set for me.”
I was dropped unfairly from Delhi U-14 team: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli recalled how he was dropped from the Delhi U-14 team because of the board-room politics and corruption that Delhi cricket has sadly come to be associated with for very long now. But despite someone getting preferred over him unfairly through illegal “compensation”, Kohli didn’t lose heart and stuck to his game because of his father’s conviction in his talent.
“I was selected for the U-14 Delhi team and then I was dropped at 1:00 AM because of some complications…, you know (to Karthik) how and what happens at the state levels, someone was preferred over me because of some compensations that were done.”
“The same was offered to my father as well. That if you can (pay for selection), maybe he (Kohli) can get into the team after two games. My father straightaway said ‘I’m not gonna pay a single penny to make him play. If he can play on his talent, so be it. If not, it’s not meant for him’.”
Kohli said the words of his father have “stuck with me for life”, as those learnings have made him more self-dependent through thick and thin.
“I have always and always relied on myself and what I can do as an individual first and then I’ll take help along the way (from) people who have been willing and open to help me, and understand who I really am, (those people) have been the closest to me,” he added.
“So this natural (instinct)..when my back is against the wall, there is only one way for me and that is forward. And I will do everything in my power to fight my way up again.”