‘I don’t talk to Kohli. He's busy…': After Dhoni revelation, Yuvraj says ‘big difference’ between Virat and ‘Cheeku’
After his ‘we’re not the best of friends' revelation on MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh said, of late, he's not in regular touch with Virat Kohli as the latter is busy.
When Virat Kohli broke into the Indian side, Yuvraj Singh was a senior member, a big star and someone who commanded respect. Yuvraj had already played two ODI World Cups, won a T20 World Cup, and become the first Indian cricketer to hit six sixes in an over before Kohli made his debut in 2008. But there were a lot of things common between the two. Both came from the northern part of India - Yuvraj from Punjab and Kohli from Delhi. Both had an abundance of raw talent at a young age. Both came through the India U-19 teams and both were outgoing personalities. Like Yuvraj, Kohli too didn't take long to make his presence felt in the Indian team.
By the time the 2011 ODI World Cup came, Kohli was not only an important member of the squad but also a confirmed starter in the XI. Yuvraj, however, was amongst the match-winners. The one who was trusted to make a difference and so he did with both bat and ball to emerge as the Player of the Tournament as India ended their 28-year-long wait for an ODI World Cup title.
The cricket careers of Yuvraj and Kohli, however, started to go in different directions after the 2011 World Cup. It was later revealed that Yuvraj played the entire tournament with cancer. He had to take a long break from cricket to undergo treatment. It took him 17 months to make a comeback to the Indian side but his first ODI since the World Cup final against Sri Lanka was in April 2011 came in December 2012. He played a home series against Pakistan and then against England but his performance in both those series was not enough to confirm a place in India's squad for the 2013 Champions Trophy.
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Kohli, by this time, had made rapid strides in all forms of the game. He cemented his place in the side and slowly started to attain the reputation once Yuvraj had in the Indian side - that of a match-winner in white-ball cricket.
Yuvraj would obviously go on to make a comeback to the Indian side to be dropped again and then to make another comeback before finally being dropped after a mediocre Champions Trophy followed by a West Indies tour in 2017.
During this period, Kohli's rapid rise continued. He became the Test captain in 2014-15 and then took over the white-ball sides from MS Dhoni in 2017.
In these years, what also materialised was a bond between Yuvraj and Kohli. The duo played 3 Tests, 64 ODIs, and 33 T20Is between 2008 and 2017. They always shared the dressing room at the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL.
Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli not in regular touch
Whenever Yuvraj and Kohli meet - the last time they met in front of public eyes was during an India-Australia T20I at Mohali in 2022 - they behave like childhood friends.
But Yuvraj said of late he doesn't talk to Kohli that much as the latter is very busy. “Not really,” Yuvraj said in the TRS Podcast when asked whether he is in touch with Kohli. “I don't disturb him as he is busy. Young Virat Kohli's name was Cheeku. Today's Cheeku is Virat Kohli, there's a big difference,” he added.
Interestingly, Yuvraj also talked about his relationship with Dhoni in the same podcast saying they were good friends but they always gave their best for Team India.
Yuvraj, for his part, had wonderful things to say about Kohli for the kind of batter he is and the way he brought a fitness revolution in Indian cricket. “We all wanted to become a fit team but when he (Kohli) became captain there was a big difference. He set a benchmark,” Yuvraj said.
Yuvraj also joked about Kohli's football skills and said he is the Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket.
“He thinks he's a very good footballer, but I have more skills. He is young, he runs around. He thinks he is Cristiano Ronaldo but he isn't. In cricket, he is. In terms of fitness, it matches (their mentality), and the focus on the game also,” he added.
Kohli recently matched Sachin Tendulkar's world record of 49 ODI centuries. he will next be seen in action India's last World Cup group-stage match against the Netherlands before the big semi-finals either against New Zealand, Pakistan or Afghanistan.
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