Updated May 18th, 2024 at 18:07 IST

This Virat Kohli interview proves Suresh Raina is the most selfless player ever in Indian cricket

Virat Kohli recently revealed a chapter of the past when Suresh Raina came to his aide and provided him the opportunity he was yearning for.

Reported by: Prateek Arya
Virat Kohli with Suresh Raina | Image:Jio cinema
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Powered by an insatiable hunger to score runs and over a decade of brilliance, Virat Kohli has become a towering figure in the world of cricket and sports. However, as every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, Kohli also had a beginning. King Kohli recently reflected on his formative years and stated how he received a helping hand from Suresh Raina back then, which proved to be vital in the development of his career.

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Virat Kohli reveals how Suresh Raina pushed his name earlier in his career

In an interview with Jio Cinema, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina indulged in a healthy conversation. There, Kohli went into a throwback and revealed a chapter of the past when he was fresh on the block and Suresh Raina (Who was standing alongside) rendered him an opportunity to open the innings during the Emerging Players Tournament in 2008. Kohli highlights that he made the most of it and played an unbeaten knock of 120. His potential was witnessed by the then chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and the rest is history.

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"In 2008, we were playing the Emerging (tournament) in Australia. At that time, the Emerging Players tournament used to be quite crucial as the best on the verge talents from different countries used to feature in the tournament. It was an important tournament for me, and I still remember it, he (Suresh Raina) might have heard about my game from somewhere, he arrived in the middle of the tournament, he took over the captaincy from S. Badrinath, Pravin Amre was our coach, I was sitting out because I hadn't performed in the initial few matches, I used to play in the middle order. So he came and saw me in the nets, and asked someone why he (Kohli) is not playing. There was no place for him was the popular answer. Unfortunately, I replaced Jinks (AJinkya Rahane) at the time who was the opening batter, but he also wasn't scoring. Amre sir thought, he wouldn't be able to open and Jinks was a proper opener, then he (Suresh Raina) said do whatever put him in the XI. He asked me will you open? And I was like I'd do anything just give me playing time. Then following that we played New Zealand. Dilip Vengsarkar sir was the selector at that time. There is one thing about hearing about someone, but when the impact of witnessing with both eyes is different. How is he playing, what's the pressure quotient, you feel the situation. So, he watched me opening and scoring 120 not out. I think that's where he decided to provide me with further opportunities. I am thankful to him, I have told him this earlier as well. He pushed my name. That was my first interaction, then a ride full of fun and laughter ensued."

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A start of a long comradery

Virat Kohli expressed gratitude to Suresh Raina for pushing his name then. The episode was seemingly a part of the trail and destined to happen as Virat Kohli has become arguably the greatest batsmen of all time. Virat Kohli also mentioned how he and Suresh Raina, being citizens of adjacent states of India could relate to so many aspects. 

"We are from a similar region, Delhi, UP are quite close, so there were many things we could relate to. Modinagar Shikanji, Jain Shikanji, Chole Kulche, Jain Shikanji. Slowly we formed a connection and after that, we played so much together."

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Published May 18th, 2024 at 16:44 IST