Dilip Vengsarkar has revealed that India’s World Cup-winning captain MS Dhoni was not in favour of including current Team India’s captain Virat Kohli during India’s tour of Sri Lanka back in 2008. The former Indian captain also stated that his decision to back Virat Kohli, who led the Indian team to lift the U-19 WC in 2008, cost him his job as the chief selector with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
While talking to media persons in Mumbai recently, Vengsarkar informed them that he was keen to add Kohli into India’s ODI squad after spotting his talent at the U-19 World Cup and later in the Emerging Players tour to Australia but then captain Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were not convinced.
“Following Virat’s performance in U-19 WC and during the Emerging Players tour to Australia, I felt that we should play this guy in the Indian team. I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team.”
Vengsarkar, who played 116 Tests and 129 ODIs, added,
“I knew that they were keen on keeping S Badrinath in the team because he was a Chennai Super Kings player. If Kohli would have come in, Badrinath would have been dropped. N Srinivasan was the BCCI treasurer at that time. He was upset that Badrinath was dropped because he was their player.”
“He [Srinivasan] asked me on what basis Badrinath was axed, and I explained that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia where I saw Virat, who is an exceptional player and that is why he is in the team. He argued that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, ‘When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now’. I told him he will get his chance but I can’t tell you when,” the former selector said.
Vengsarkar concluded that the next day, Srikkanth later succeeded him as the chief selector after Srikkanth and Srinivasan met Sharad Pawar, who was the then BCCI president.
Badrinath made his ODI debut in the second ODI of the 2008 Sri Lanka tour and played the three matches, with scores of 27*, 6 and 6. Kohli also made his debut in the first ODI and played all five matches, scoring 12, 37, 25, 54 and 31.