The guard points towards the cricket nets at the far end of the school, where the West Delhi Cricket Academy (WDCA) holds practice sessions. This is where it all started for the young Virat who would go on to gather more style and flamboyance.
When Virat was just nine, his father Prem Kohli, a lawyer, had seen enough to know his son would play for India one day. He took the chubby boy to Coach Rajkumar Sharma at the nearby WDCA to hone his talent. “I felt Virat was a class apart. His flair with the bat was impeccable even at that age,” remembers Sharma. His guide and mentor, Sharma played a key role in Kohli’s grooming. In 2006, when Virat was in the middle of an innings in a crucial Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka, the terrible news that his father had died was relayed to him. Distraught, he sought Sharma’s advice. The coach told him to continue his innings. Virat went on to score 93. He was 17.
With his mother
Then on, it was clear cricket was first. Soon after, he captained the under-19 side to the World Cup trophy in Kuala Lumpur. But did single-minded obsession with cricket make him aloof and overly aggressive? “Of course, he’s aggressive,” says Virat’s older brother Vikas. “He knows how to chase his dreams and gets obdurate when he sets his mind on something. Is there really any other way to achieve success?” Former India player Nikhil Chopra, among those who selected Virat for the Delhi Ranji team, says his understanding of the game, continuous self-renewal and maturity were evident at a young age. Kohli guards his personal space jealously and doesn’t reveal his secrets easily, his friends say. What people think about him doesn’t bother him in the least. To his inner circle, though, he is the most ‘chilled out’ person. “He is a typical Delhi guy,” says his pal Ankush. “Just a few years ago, we’d be driving through the city streets on Holi, throwing water balloons at people, especially girls.” He loves watching soccer, is a huge Man U fan, loves his kababs and curries, and loves jiving to loud bhangra songs. Former cricketer and patron-in-chief of the wdca Atul Wassan says Virat knew early on how to strike a balance between work and play. “While he’s dead serious about cricket, he also knows how to let his hair down and unwind either at home or at discos, lounges, pubs or bars.”
His late father; horsing around
Questions have been raised about Virat’s mercurial behaviour and quick temper. His critics point to his run-ins with umpires and scuffles with opponents on the field. “He’s always been a go-getter and daring,” says childhood friend Chavi Gulati. She recalls Virat having a crush on the school beauty, a senior, and him giving Chavi a letter to hand over to her. Chavi asked him to reconsider, but Virat was determined. The senior tore the letter, saying “The cheek of the fatso.” What gets to people, Chavi feels, is Virat’s no-nonsense attitude—that gets reflected as aggression. “It’s a childhood trait that makes him unreachable to most. It’s how he is. People have to just accept him.”
His older sister and brother
Virat loved school; his teachers recall a good student. “He was witty and bright,” recounts Lucy Jat, his biology teacher in Class 8, adding that he had a great aptitude for science. His principal Geeta Sehgal recalls asking Virat’s class about what a poem meant to them and his reply, “The best words from a person’s heart.”
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT