MS Dhoni, Gary Kirsten Were Reluctant to Include Virat Kohli in Team India – Dilip Vengsarkar
Former chairman of selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar in a recent event recalled the time when MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten were reluctant to include Virat Kohli in the India Team.
Further, he also revealed how his tenure ended abruptly in the middle of his term.
Vengsarkar succeeded Kiran More, as chief selector in October 2006. Krishnamachari Srikkanth replaced Srikkhant in September 2008.
The former India captain also admitted he was impressed by Virat’s show in Emerging Players tour to Australia following the U19 World Cup that India won under Kohli.
Ideal situation to include Virat:
Post that to tour Australia, India was due to travel to Sri Lanka. Vengsarkar felt it was the ideal time to draft Kohli in the squad.
However, Dhoni and Kirsten, the then coach opposed the decision citing they have not seen enough of Kohli.
However, Vengsarkar had the backing of other selectors which helped him include young Kohli in the team.
“I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I had seen him and we have to include him in the team,” Vengsarkar said.
He also revealed they were keen to retain S Badrinath. N Srinivasan, the then BCCI treasurer was also upset with the decision because he was from his state.
Influence of Srinivasan:
Moreover, Vengsarkar talked about the influence of Srinivasan who asked him the reasons for Badrinath’s exclusion.
“He asked me on what basis Badrinath was axed, and I explained that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia where I saw Virat, who is an exceptional player and that is why he is in the team. He (Srinivasan) argued that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, ‘When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now’. I told him he will get his chance, but I can’t tell you when” Vengsarkar mentioned.
Vengsarkar also said this decision led to my termination as a selector.
“The very next day, he (Srinivasan) took Srikkanth to Sharad Pawar, who was the (BCCI) president then and that was the end of my selection tenure,” Vengsarkar concluded.
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