Virat Kohli led India to the U-19 World Cup triumph in 2008. He was the star among the colts and the then chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar knew about his potential, when MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten were sceptical about his choice.
The former India captain Vengsarkar claimed he lost his job for picking Kohli over Tamil Nadu’s domestic heavyweight S. Badrinath in 2008.
I had selected Virat Kohli in the team: Dilip Vengsarkar
Vengsarkar had recommended Kohli for a tournament in 2008. He felt the U-19 boys should also be tried in the tournament and found out that Kohli was technically sound, so should be a part of the squad.
“There was an Emerging Players tournament in Australia (for) youngsters — four A-teams were there — India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand,” Vengsarkar was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Me and my colleagues decided that we will take the U-23 boys and at that time we had won the U-19 World Cup, Virat Kohli was the U-19 captain and I selected him in the team,” he added.
Gary and Dhoni were saying no: Dilip Vengsarkar
The, then, Team India coach Gary Kirsten and captain Dhoni were of the opinion that they have not seen Kohli and want to continue with an unchanged side. Vengsarkar, however, stayed stubborn with his decision which eventually cost him his job, courtesy of the then BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan.
“He (Kohli) was technically sound and I thought he should be played. We were going to Sri Lanka and I felt that this is the ideal situation that he should be in the team. My four colleagues said ‘As you say Dilip Bhai’,” he said, referring to the other members of the selection panel.
“However, Gary and Dhoni were saying ‘No, we haven’t seen him and we will continue with the same team’. I told them ‘You haven’t seen him but I have seen and we have to take this boy’,” Vengsarkar said.