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Virat Kohli is like my son: Rajkumar Sharma

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli was coached by Rajkumar Sharma since he was 10 years old. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Rajkumar Sharma, who coached the Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli since he was 10 years old, is on the verge of being conferred with the prestigious Dronacharya award. Sharma said that it’s a huge honour and it adds as a responsibility to mould more players.

“It’s a huge honour which increases your responsibility to produce not one but many more Virat’s. I still remember the day when a 10-year-old Virat came to my coaching camp. Today as an Indian captain when he comes for a net session, I don’t find any difference. He is still the same old little Virat for me. Nothing has changed for him,” the 51-year-old former first-class cricketer told PTI.

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He has been nominated for the award quite a few times but he got lucky this time. He said that when Virat got Arjuna Award in 2013, Kohli said to Sharma that he would be applauding from the audience when his coach receives the Droancharya award.

“When Virat got the Arjuna Award in 2013, I was there at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and he told me then next time I would be receiving Droancharya and he would be applauding from the audience. Wish Virat did not have international commitments (he will be on his flight back from the US) and he would be have been there at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29,” said Sharma.

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“Every coach has a duty just as a parent to keep a check on the progress of his ward. There was a phase and he was only 19 years old. Instant stardom after U-19 World Cup victory and a contract with RCB, it can happen with kids. It’s at that point when the coach’s role comes into play. You have to give the boy right guidance. It was my duty as he is like my son,” he added.

Virat over the years has matured as he evolved as one of the best batsmen in the cricketing world currently. The coach admitted that he has no role in that. “Maturity comes with age. There are a lot of things that a coach can’t do. There is a process of self-realisation and the person knows what is right for him. Virat went through that process on his own and let me tell you I had no role in that process. The transformation from a teenager to responsible young man has happened because he knew what he needed to do,” said Sharma.

Virat’s head and the heart are in right place:

Despite being highly successful in the international arena, Virat’s keen interest in improving his game and the desire to work hard remains the same.

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“Even today when he is considered among the best batsmen in world cricket, he will intently listen when I speak to him about his feet movement or back lift. When you find that he is still ready to listen then you know that the head and the heart is in the right place.”

Speaking about producing the next set of talented competent cricketers, he said, “My student Pulkit Narang, a spinner has already made his senior state debut. There is a 12-year-old boy called Ram Dev, in whom I see the spark that I saw in Virat years ago. Let’s hope that they blossom into good solid cricketers,” Sharma signed-off.

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