How Dilip Vengsarkar spotted Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli got the nod of the chairman of selectors at the time, ahead of a Tamil Nadu stalwart.

Dilip Vengsarkar says he was impressed by Virat Kohli's exceptional talent when the current Indian skipper slammed a century in the first match of the eventually victorious 2008 under-19 World Cup campaign.   -  Thulasi Kakkat

Former India skipper, Dilip Vengsarkar, considers himself as a ‘talent spotter’. But the erstwhile chairman of national selection committee, still remembers how tough it was for him to pick a young Virat Kohli in the Indian team.

In 2008, a few months after Kohli led India under-19 team to to the World Cup, he was drafted into the India A team for the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia.

“At that time I was in-charge of the selection committee, and I had gone to Australia to see the match and I had picked him (Virat) because they had won the Under-19 World Cup, and in the first game itself he (Virat) scored a hundred (in that tournament), and I was impressed with his exceptional talent,” Vengsarkar said during a book launch on Sunday.

After returning to India, Vengsarkar wanted Kohli in the India team for the ODIs against Sri Lanka. He, however, claimed that the then captain Mahendra Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were sceptical about the selection.

“Others had not heard of him. M. S. Dhoni was the captain, Gary Kirsten was the coach of the India team and they had not heard of him, so they said we should not pick him at the moment and we should let him play few games,” he said. “I was insisting that you must pick this (boy) and they had to drop (Subramaniam) Badrinath,” Vengsarkar said.