Former India all-rounder, Irfan Pathan speaks of Virat Kohli’s rise as a cricketer on the field, while fending off the distractions off the field as well. The right-hander followed a steep upward curve in his cricket career- from leading India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup and the IPL to becoming arguably the greatest batsman and now a highly successful captain of the Indian team as well.
However, as Irfan Pathan points out, with success with the bat, Virat Kohli had to deal with the outside limelight as well. Apart from cricket, the Delhi-born has been a brand in itself with innumerable endorsements; his personal life as well receives heavy scanners from the media.
Speaking with Star Sports, Irfan Pathan recalls how a young Virat Kohli was all over the newspapers for his brilliant work on the field.
“Whenever I used to see Virat Kohli in the IPL, I only saw one player. Someone who was young, has reached a certain level and is now enjoying himself on and off the field. The next morning when you opened the newspaper, he was everywhere, on Page 3 you see him,” Irfan Pathan said.
But he never sidelined cricket: Irfan Pathan
Despite all the hysteria, the lure of the fame, glitz, glamour, Kohli remained committed to cricket and kept it as his first priority, which Irfan Pathan praises heavily. The left-hander believes that Kohli’s relentless hunger for the game, more and above anything else, is the main reason for his colossal success.
“But he never sidelined cricket, and always kept his focus. That’s why you see Virat Kohli has become such a special player. It shows his commitment to the game,” Irfan Pathan added.
Under Virat Kohli, India has won numerous series, the most significant of which was India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia. The mindset he has developed in the side helped India win another series Down Under despite a spate of injuries in the squad, and the bio-bubble mental toll.
Now, Kohli will lead India to the final of the World Test Championship in June against New Zealand to claim the tag of best Test side in the world. An IPL trophy still remains on the wishlist of the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper.