Meet the man who had to dish out 'a few hard slaps' to tame Virat Kohli's aggression

Rajkumar Sharma, a former Ranji Player, reminisced interesting memories about Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli

Team India touched down in London on Thursday to defend the title of ICC Champions Trophy scheduled next month. Kohli, who was part of the squad that defeated hosts England in the final at Edgbaston four years ago, is leading the side this time. He has held out hope that his side can replicate the earlier success as the team  is well balanced and just needs to play with the right mentality.  “This year the team is a lot fitter, the cricketers are a lot more mature because that was a very young group four years ago,” Kohli told reporters after India reached London for the tournament which will be contested from June 1-18.

Even the cricket fans have pinned high hopes from Indian team and its skipper who is considered the most dangerous batsman in the world. With his consistent performance as a run hitting machine, Kohli has become a player India truly banks upon. The maverick has given fans such amazing batting moments which will be etched in their memories forever. Kohli amassed 1215 Test runs at a stupendous average of 75.93 last year. 10 ODI appearances fetched him 739 runs at 92.37, while he scored 641 T20 International runs at 106.83. Only six batsmen have ever scored more international runs in a calendar year than Kohli but none of them have come close to the Indian captain’s average.

But legends are not made in a day. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to build a character like Virat Kohli. There is one person whose contribution in Virat Kohli’s progression from a precocious talent to a world-class batsman can not be ignored. Rajkumar Sharma, a former Ranji Player, has reminisced interesting memories about Kohli in later’s biography ‘DRIVEN – The Virat Kohli Story’  authored by veteran cricket journalist Vijay Lokapally.

Virat Kohli's perfect Teachers' Day tribute for childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma

Kohli was a restless child. He used to barge into the team of seniors arguing that his fellow players could not take his wicket. He wanted to play with senior players. At that time the to-be superstar was 10-year-old.

Kohli used to get very finicky about his batting. If the opposite team scored less runs, he pushed for opening the innings himself saying ” What If I don’t get to bat”.  Kohli’s whims could not be controlled by mere rebuke, at times Sharma had to slap him to keep his aggression in check. “I did not simply stop at scolding him. A few hard slaps have sometimes worked well,” said Raj Kumar, who has been more of a father figure than a coach for Virat.

“I can read his mind. He also knows what goes on in my mind. I have set certain benchmarks for him and he meets them. Sometimes they are about hitting centuries or winning matches. We have worked countless hours on technique and temperament, and he has responded beautifully.” Rajkumar is former player who was a member of the 1989 Ranji winning squad which played under Madan Lal.