Kolkata: Had the then captain MS Dhoni and his deputy Virender Sehwag buckled, probably, Virat Kohli would have been shown the exit door for the Test at Perth on the 2012 tour Down Under. Shocking it is, but if Sehwag’s version is to go by, Kohli would have been dropped. Sehwag himself spilled the beans at the commentary box during the on-going Test at Mohali. Selectors wanted to play Rohit Sharma instead of Virat Kohli at Perth in 2012. I was vice-captain and MS Dhoni was leading the team, and we decided that we have to back Virat Kohli, and the rest is history,“ Sehwag was quoted by the website sportswallah.com. The selection committee that time was led by former Indian opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
Just imagine, what would have happened had Kohli been shown the door. A talent that was destined to lead Indian cricket into the future would have been wasted. The decision to back Kohli by the team think-tank hasn’t boomeranged as the gifted Delhi lad responded with 44 and 75 at the WACA and a classy hundred in the next Test at Adelaide.
The hundred at Adelaide was probably the turning point in Kohli’s career as he gave indications of things to come. Before the Perth Test, Kohli who has drawn praises from greats like Viv Richards and Imran Khan wasn’t among runs on the Tour Down Under. Post Perth and Adelaide, one saw a transformation in Kohli who now averages over 40 in Test cricket with 14 hundreds.
This was not the first time that a captain had backed his player against the wish of the selection committee. Sourav Ganguly too stood by the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Sehwag himself when the five wise men thought otherwise.
The year 2012 was also an eventful year for Indian cricket as well. Mohinder Amarnath was sacked as a selector allegedly at the behest of the then BCCI President N Srinivasan. Amarnath had raised his voice against Dhoni’s (who was close to Srinivasan) captaincy (after whitewashes in England and Australia) and there were stories doing the rounds, that the Man-of-the-match in the semi-final and final of the 1983 World Cup faced the flak.
The revelation by Sehwag will make headlines, but Thank God, Kohli is still around.