Virat Kohli had made quite a name for himself in New Delhi’s first-class circuit at a young age. At the age of 18, he was handed a debut for Delhi in a Ranji match against Tamil Nadu in November 2006.
A score of 10 in his debut innings did not create a stir but he made headlines in December after deciding to play for his state against Karnataka on the day after his father’s death. Kohli would go on to score 90 runs. The kind of maturity Virat Kohli showed at such a young age was not something you see every day.
While he may have looked childish, even at that age, he showed glimpses of his potential with an insightful analysis and a sharp cricketing mind.
As the Indian captain turns 31 on Tuesday, we turn the pages back to one of his first recorded interviews on television.
In this interview with Delhi teammate Puneet Bisht, Kohli analyses Team India’s 2007 World Cup squad and whether they could win under the leadership of Rahul Dravid.
“Success can be determined by how well the Indian players gel together and perform as a unit,” says Kohli.
He also goes on to address the controversy surrounding Virender Sehwag’s selection when chief selector Dilip Vengaskar had claimed that it was on captain Rahul Dravid insistence that the opener was included.
According to Kohli, the selector should have never made such a statement as it can hurt the mindset of a player. Kohli also expressed his thoughts on why the Indian team traditionally shied away from playing 5 bowlers and always played that extra batsman.
“India has not been able to defend well in the past. So five bowlers can’t defend. India’s strength has been batting and can chase down any problem,” he said.
Ironically, it is under Kohli’s leadership that India have experimented with the five-pronged attack in the recent past.
When asked if cricketers faced the pressure of media, he said, “There is always a pressure of the media no matter how big the player is. Even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar had to face it. And once it starts to affect a player, psychologically it does have an impact.”
Kohli’s game changers of the tournament were Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan. Months later, Yuvraj would excel for India in its successful T20 World Cup campaign. Zaheer also played a vital role in India’s 2011 World Cup victory.