How Suresh Raina's 'he should play' demand saw Virat Kohli make the Indian team: 'Give me a chance, I will bat anywhere' | Crickit
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How Suresh Raina's 'he should play' demand saw Virat Kohli make the Indian team: 'Give me a chance, I will bat anywhere'

May 18, 2024 06:59 PM IST

Virat Kohli made his India debut a month after that tournament, and the rest, as they say, is history.

On Saturday, Virat Kohli will have the opportunity to consolidate his position in the Orange Cap table in IPL 2024, having scripted a phenomenal season with the bat. His scintillating form augurs well for Team India, with the T20 World Cup slated to begin in over a fortnight's time, which could potentially be his final appearance in the T20I format as well. Ahead of the big game in IPL 2024, Kohli recalled the most important moment in his career, when former India cricketer Suresh Raina's insistence led to him making the senior Indian squad.

Virat Kohli with former India cricketer Suresh Raina ahead of IPL 2024 match between RCB and CSK
Virat Kohli with former India cricketer Suresh Raina ahead of IPL 2024 match between RCB and CSK

Speaking to JioCinema in the presence of Raina, Kohli recalled how the veteran batter's decision during the Emerging Player's tournament in 2008 helped him get into the Indian side after failing to perform as a middle-order option.

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“I think it was 2008. It was an Indian match. We were playing in the Emerging Players tournament in Australia in 2008. The significance of the Emerging Players tournament at that time was that the best cricketers who were on the verge of playing for their country would come to play there, and it was a very important tournament for us. So I still remember that Raina might have heard about me. He came mid-tournament. Initially, S Badrinath was the captain, but when Raina arrived, he took over the captaincy. Pravin Amre was our coach, and he had kept me out of the playing eleven,” he said.

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"So Raina saw me playing in the nets and asked Amre sir why I wasn't playing. I used to bat in the middle order, while Ajinkya Rahane opened. Amre sir said there wasn't a spot available in the team. Then Raina insisted that I should be played, so Pravin sir called me and asked if I would open," the former RCB captain added.

The then 18-year-old made most of the golden opportunity presented to him and smashed an unbeaten ton against New Zealand, which impressed then selector Dilip Vengsarkar and it was followed by an opportunity in the Indian team.

"I said I would do anything (bat anywhere), just give me a chance to play. So I opened against New Zealand. Dilip Vengsarkar sir was the selector at that time. I scored 120 not out, and he probably decided then and there that I should be given further opportunities," Kohli said.

Kohli made his India debut a month later in Sri Lanka in the ODI format, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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