Sachin Tendulkar inspired me to become what I am today: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli has opened up on the unique bond he shares with Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian captain said it was the Master Blaster who inspired him to become what he is today.

Kohli had debuted for India back in 2008 when Tendulkar was alredy considered the greatest batsman since the days of Don Bradman. Over the years, the two formed a great connect and the mutual respect grew even as Kohli continued to rise in stature as an international cricketer.

Tendulkar’s farewell from the game was an emotional affair. Mumbai had turned up in full force at the Wankhede Stadium where Tendulkar had bid adieu after playing his 200th Test. After India had decimated West Indies, Tendulkar’s emotional farewell speech left all of India in tears.

And then something happened at the Wankhede dressing-room that moved the great Sachin Tendulkar.

 

During the launch of his book Eleven Gods and a Billion Indians, Boria Majumdar talked about the moment Kohli went up to Tendulkar and offered him a rare gift.

Kohli had walked up to Tendulkar and offered him an invaluable gift – threads given to a young Virat by his father. Virat had been told to give those threads to someone he respected immensely.

And Kohli went on to touch Tendulkar’s feet – Sachin then embraced him and said: ‘Tujhe wohaan nahin, yahaan hona hai’ (Your place is here, not there.)

Almost five years later, Kohli is India captain, the greatest batsman in the world and in sight of Tendulkar’s ODI records. While Tendulkar leads the list of century-scorers in ODIs, Kohli is second with 35 hundreds to his name.

Speaking at the book launch, Kohli said he understood the impact Tendulkar has had on his career.

“I don’t have too many people who are very close to me. That is just the way life has gone on for so many years. Because naturally when someone has stuck by me in tough times, I value that person a lot.

“I continue to do that. The impact he has had in my life growing up…. I understand the importance of it.

“If someone can inspire you like that and you end up becoming someone and you feel like there is no greater pleasure than that. So that (handing his father’s threads over to Tendulkar) was just a gesture of thank you to the guy who has inspired me to do what I am doing. For me, the human connect is paramount.

“Incentives, gains … these things do not matter to me. If someone is honest with me, that’s what matters,” he said.

When Kohli went through a nightmarish tour of England in 2014, he turned to Tendulkar for help. A few months later, he smashed four hundreds in four Tests in Australia and has not looked back since.

 

Courtesy : India Today

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