Kohli made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 2008 Image: Twitter
Former national selector and India captain Dilip Vengsarkar just made a startling revelation. He has revealed how selecting Virat Kohli back in 2008 ended his career as selector.
Vengsarkar said he lost his job as the chairman of selectors for selecting Kohli over Tamil Nadu's domestic heavyweight Subramaniam Badrinath, courtesy the then BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.
"There was an Emerging Players tournament in Australia for youngsters -- four A teams were there -- India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. My colleagues and I decided that we will select the U-23 boys. At that time, we had won the U19 World Cup, and since Virat Kohli was the U-19 captain, I selected him in the team," he said.
Vengsarkar further claimed that MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were sceptical about the selection. According to him, he eventually fell out of favour with Srinivasan, something that cost him his job.
"He (Kohli) was technically sound and I thought he should be played. We were going to Sri Lanka and I felt that this is the ideal situation that he should be in the team. My four colleagues said 'As you say Dilip Bhai'," he said, recalling the selection panel meeting.
"However, Gary and Dhoni were saying 'No, we haven't seen him and we will continue with the same team'. I told them 'You haven't seen him but I have seen and we have to take this boy'," Vengsarkar said.
Even Kohli, in the past, has spoken publicly about how Vengsarkar landed in Australia during an A-team tournament and asked him to open the innings. Kohli took up the challenge and scored a hundred. He was then selected in the Indian team for the tour of Sri Lanka.
Kohli and Badrinath were fighting for one vacant middle-order spot at that point in time in Dhoni's team which had six batting slots sealed. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni were automatic selections.
"We had gone to Brisbane and it was against New Zealand A. Kohli was opening and their team had some good players such asa Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson, Jesse Ryder. Kohli scored an unbeaten 120 and I felt that we should play this boy for India," recalled Vengsarkar.
'Colonel', as he is fondly called, alleged that he sensed a general uneasiness with Kohli's selection as Badrinath played the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings, which was then owned by erstwhile secretary and Tamil Nadu strongman Srinivasan.
"I knew there was South's Badrinath, who was playing for N Srinivasan's CSK. When Kohli was preferred over Badrinath, Srinivasan was not happy. He got fed up as his player was kept out and he questioned me as to how I didn't pick Badri? I replied that I had gone to watch the Emerging Tour in Australia and found Kohli exceptional. So I picked him in the team and Srinivasan reasoned that Badrinath had scored 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him he will get a chance and angry Srinivasan asked "when he will get a chance, he is 29 years old?" I replied, 'Whenever the time comes.'"
Soon Vengsarkar was replaced by Srinivasan's choice Kris Srikkanth. "Srinivasan then made Srikkanth the chairman and I was sent home. That was the end of my career as a selector."
(With inputs from PTI)