In recent times, Delhi lads have got there but not managed to cement the spot. Both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were stand-in skippers but failed to seal the deal.
Enter Virat Kohli. A 26-year-old west Delhi lad, brash, outspoken and the partying type but possessing tremendous amounts of self-belief, as his personal coach Rajkumar Sharma says, will carry the future of India’s top sporting team in cricket’s traditional format.
For those who know him in the Capital, it was only a matter of time before the mantle fell on him. “Now begins the biggest challenge. He will have to realise that all his teammates can’t be like him. So he’ll have to give space and time to others. He’ll have to react carefully to sledging,” says Sharma.
While India's previous Test captains could bank on a lot of veterans in the dressing room, Virat Kohli takes charge of a relatively inexperienced side. (HT Photo)
Virat, whose fighting spirit has won over many, burst into the limelight in a Ranji game in 2006-07 season when his lawyer-businessman father passed. Kohli was unbeaten overnight. With tears in his eyes and the body still at home, the then 18-year-old returned to the field and scored a fifty the next day before rushing home for the funeral.
Soon after, he led India to the U-19 World Cup win in 2008.
Nicknamed Cheeku, after a rabbit in a comic because his hair used to stand up, Virat, like most Delhi youngsters, loved to eat stuff coaches frowned upon. But with fame came responsibility, and the only things on his plate now are sushi and health foods. He loves bright colours and lively music.
His friends aren’t surprised by his aggression and competitiveness as Kohli hates losing in the PlayStation, ultra-competitive. A brief stint as Delhi skipper a few seasons ago shook up the coteries of Ferozeshah Kotla. It’s India’s turn now.
Kohli will be the first regular Test skipper from Delhi since Bishan Singh Bedi.