Before the multi million dollar contracts, brand endorsements and tons of female fan following, Virat Kohli had to prove his mettle at the domestic and U 19 stage. And he did it with grace. As India prepare to begin their U19 World Cup campaign beginning this Saturday, under the leadership of Prithvi Shaw, we look back at Virat Kohli’s days as an U 19 captain. 

One look at this century that he hammered against West Indies in the U19 World Cup in 2008, and you’ll see that he was as flamboyant then as he is now. (Also interesting trivia: his favourite player during that time was Herschelle Gibbs.)

Kohli was also the captain of the World Cup winning side, and it was his leadership skills that helped India defend a paltry target in the finals against South Africa. Also, if you look at the side, only Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja have managed to make it big on the international stage. 

In an interview with Star Sports, Virat said about the experience, “It was the best thing to have happened in my life. From there on, I got recognition to get into the reckoning for the Indian team. Obviously, coming into the IPL, it was like a high – winning the U 19 World Cup. If you ask me about the whole experience there, I think from the start, when we left Bangalore, we were very confident about our team. Because we had played against almost every team that was in the competition and beaten them convincingly. It was a confident feeling altogether in the team. Till the finals, it was a dream run. We were a bit nervous during the finals. Because everyone had that thin in mind about India losing the finals.”

“We got out at 159. One time I thought that we’re going to lose the finals. Then we went into the field, and I just told everyone that this could be the match of your life. Forget everything, just give it your best shot. Whatever happens, just don’t regret that you didn’t give your best shot. So that was the kind of confidence the guys got, and before the rain came, we had them at 17 for 3. That was one time we thought that we actually could pull this off. Then we had the news from Australia that India won the CB Series. That gave us a lot of confidence because India had won there, so we were motivated to win here as well. And then, we just went in and it was like the match of my life,” Kohli added. 

You have to see how he runs to pick up the wickets and celebrates after winning the World Cup. Even today, he celebrates the same way. 

Featured image courtesy: ICC

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