Dilip Vengsarkar, a former Indian cricket selector, remembered the first time he saw Virat Kohli play and was very impressed with his skills and determination. He credits the selection committee for supporting his decision to pick Kohli for the ODI series in Sri Lanka in 2008.
Vengsarkar praises Kohli for his ability to bounce back after a bad IPL season and for his contribution to Indian cricket's culture of fitness. He says he also admires Kohli's humility and wishes him a happy birthday.
"The first time I saw Virat Kohli play was in a tournament for young players in Australia. He opened the batting for our team against New Zealand, which had seven players who had already played international cricket. Although our team was made up of players under the age of 23, we won the match thanks to a superb hundred from Virat."
I was impressed not only by his batting but also by the fact that he stayed at the crease until the end of the match to help his team win. This convinced me that he was good enough to play for India.
When you are a selector, the most important thing is to pick players at the right time. You need to give them a chance to play at a higher level when they are in form, not when they are struggling. I want to congratulate and thank my fellow selectors for supporting my decision to pick Virat at that time.
We picked Virat for the ODI series in Sri Lanka in August 2008. Although he didn't score too many runs on that tour, apart from a half-century, he looked impressive.
Virat Kohli had a very bad IPL season in 2008, early in his career. It is amazing how he turned things around and became a great cricketer. He worked hard on his game and fitness, and he focused on his performance. Now, people expect him to score a century every time he plays, and even if he scores 70 or 80 runs, it seems like he has failed.
Kohli's biggest contribution to Indian cricket is that he introduced a culture of fitness to the team. He is a role model for young cricketers, who want to emulate his success.