Virat Kohli's ton against New Zealand for India A led to his senior team call-up, reveals Dilip Vengsarkar

Virat Kohli’s ton against New Zealand for India A led to his senior team call-up, reveals Dilip Vengsarkar

Kohli had scored 123* opening the innings against New Zealand in the very first match of the Emerging Players tournament.

Dilip Vengsarkar and Virat Kohli
Dilip Vengsarkar and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Ever since Virat Kohli led India U19 team to the World Cup-winning triumph 2008, he was in the radar of the national selectors. The youngster impressed many with his hunger to succeed and his exceptional performances continued in domestic cricket and for India A as well. Dilip Vengsarkar was the chairman of the selection committee then and was having a keen eye on Kohli.

On Wednesday, he revealed that the current India skipper impressed him during his India A stint in the Emerging Players tournament in Australia. In the opening game of the tournament itself, against New Zealand, Virat Kohli opened the innings and slammed a century in the chase. Moreover, he remained unbeaten until the end to take his team over the line and this is what impressed Vengsarkar the most.

After looking at his knock, he felt that Kohli should be pushed into the national team soon and eventually, the Delhi boy made his ODI debut on Sri Lanka tour in August 2008. “In the first match against New Zealand, they had scored 240-250 and Virat Kohli was asked to open the innings and he scored 123*. What I appreciated was that even after his hundred, he went on to win the game for his team and he remained not out.

“That really impressed me and there I thought that here is a boy that we must push into the Indian team because he was mentally mature and of course we picked him and the rest is history,” Vengsarkar said during a live session with Sportskeeda.

Why was Virat Kohli picked in India A team?

Dilip Vengsarkar also revealed his thinking behind picking the players like Virat Kohli for the Emerging players tournament. He said that his committee had decided to identify the fringe players who would play for the country in the next few years. And Kohli was picked for the same reason as he had successfully led the U19 team in the World Cup.

“When there was an emerging players’ tournament in Australia, I was the chairman of the selection committee (for the Indian team). We had decided at that point of time that we must pick players who were fringe players or who would play for India very soon, especially the U-23 boys. So we had picked Virat Kohli in the team,” he added.

12 years down the line, the decision seems to be perfect as Virat Kohli is now regarded as the best batsman across all formats in international cricket with 70 centuries to his name in both ODIs and Tests.