Virat Kohli’s name was doing rounds in the Delhi circuit during the 2007-08 season and it gained prominence at the 2008 U19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
After the iconic win in the U19 world tournament, Kohli was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) during the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions in 2008.
Kohli was a young Turk in comparison to the already established names at the RCB camp, featuring the likes of Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Anil Kumble and Mark Boucher.
Moreover, Kohli managed to grab eye-balls for himself, even in presence of a plethora of stars in the competition, including Harbhajan Singh.
Bhajji was part of a star-studded Mumbai Indians’ (MI) side, featuring Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shaun Pollock and Lasith Malinga.
Now, Harbhajan has opened up about his first impression of Kohli when RCB faced MI in IPL 2008.
“I had heard Virat Kohli’s name before the IPL auction from Lalchand Rajput. In an IPL game, I was the captain of the Mumbai Indians, Sachin paaji was sitting out. Virat Kohli hit Jayasuriya for a six by stepping out of his crease,” the ‘Turbanator’ said during a Star Sports’ show ‘IPL Memories’.
“He was not afraid of the fact that a man of Jayasuriya’s stature was bowling to him. That showed me that he is one for the future,” Harbhajan added.
To this day, Kohli remains an indispensable part of RCB lineup. He is the only player in IPL to feature in all twelve seasons for the same franchise.
Kohli was appointed as RCB captain during the 2013 season. A title victory is what eludes his overall brilliant IPL career.
Bhajji heaps praise on Kohli’s commitment
“Whenever I used to watch Virat Kohli in the IPL, I used to see only one man. A young man who is enjoying both on the field as well as off the field. But he never sidelined cricket.
“The good thing is that he always kept his focus on cricket. This is why he is one of the best players in the world right now and it shows how much commitment he has,” Harbhajan concluded.