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Virat Kohli Exclusive: Kohli’s words will always ring in our ears… Inside Story of NBT Journalist’s Charismatic Moment

Sydney: Even before that brilliant innings and charismatic six against Pakistan, Kohli’s performance in Australia was different. Before the Pakistan match, I asked over 1000 Pakistani fans about their most dangerous Indian batsman and 99 percent of them would have answered – Virat Kohli…. Yes, Virat and not Virat as we say. Pakistanis call Virat Virat, like most Ramees, Raja Yuvraj Singh is still called Yograj (father of Yuvraj). Also, when I repeat the question to every Pakistani who is the most favorite batsman, the answer would be Kohli.

After the Melbourne match, when I asked the Pakistani fans about losing the rematch, their response was again the same – if Virat Kohli plays like this, you shouldn’t regret the result. Kohli has never visited Pakistan till now, but the respect and reverence he gets from Pakistani stalwarts and common fans cannot be compared to Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.

These are two such giants who have made fans their fans even outside India and Pakistan, but Kohli’s story is something else. Especially in the eyes of Pakistanis. For the Australian audience, Kohli is the king. If Kohli is ever asked where he would like to play cricket other than India, his answer would be none other than Australia. The way his every move is followed in Australia is unprecedented.

When Kohli arrived in Sydney for his first practice session and was returning to the pavilion after that, this writer said to him, “Brother, you have collected my ticket money,” Kohli said with a serious smile. It’s just the beginning …I was shocked… By then Kohli had gone out of my sight and entered the dressing room. It was the same Kohli who approached me personally during the nets session in Brisbane a week ago and asked how I was doing.

Kohli told me personally that during the Asia Cup he saw him on the Arshdeep issue and he told the team to keep playing. I have known Kohli since his U-19 days and I even did his first TV interview in June 2006 in Bangalore. Since then there have been many talks, meetings and interviews with Kohli but one sentence that Kohli said in Sydney will always ring in my ears.
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