India skipper Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in the world, in all three formats. But his journey to the top hasn’t been a smooth one. In a web chat with India football captain Sunil Chhetri, Kohli made a startling revelation.
He said that once he failed it to make it to Delhi junior team, since his father had refused to pay a bribe.
“In my home state (Delhi)… sometimes things happen that are not fair… On one occasion, a certain someone did not play by the rules when it came to selection criteria,” Kohli said. “He told my father while I had the merit, a little extra (bribe) was needed to confirm my selection.”
“My father – an honest middle-class man who had worked hard all his life to become a successful lawyer – did not even understand what that ‘little extra’ meant. My father simply said, ‘If you want to select Virat, then let it be purely on merit. I will give you nothing extra’,” Kohli said.
“I didn’t get selected. I cried a lot. I was broken,” Kohli added.
Kohli went on to say that this incident had a great impact on him. “That incident taught me a lot. I realised that this world runs like this. If you want to progress, do something that no one else is doing. If I had to become successful, I had to be extraordinary.
“And I had to achieve this purely through my own effort and hard work. My father showed me the right way, through his actions and not merely words. Those little things had a great impact on me.”
In fact Kohli lost his father at the age of 18, when the latter was playing a Ranji Trophy match for Delhi against Karnataka. Despite this, he went on to play a match-saving innings for his team.
“I accepted his death, as I was focused on moving forward with my career.In fact, I went and batted in a Ranji Trophy match the day after he died. His death made me realise that I had to make something of my life.
Now, I think about how nice it would be if I could have given my father the peaceful retired life that he deserved.”