India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli recalled how his late father Prem instilled values and principles in him that have helped shape his successful career.
On the Instagram live chat show Eleven On Ten hosted by football star Sunil Chhetri, Kohli reminisced about an incident from his junior cricket days when his father stood tall as a role model.
“In my home State (Delhi), sometimes things happen which are not fair. On one occasion, a certain someone did not play by the rules when it came to selection criteria.
There is merit, but…
“He told my father that while I had the merit to be selected, a little extra (possibly a bribe) was needed to confirm my selection,” Kohli said. “My father — an honest middle-class man who had worked hard all his life to become a successful lawyer — did not even understand what ‘little extra’ meant. My father simply said, ‘If you want to select Virat, then let it be purely on merit. I will give you nothing extra’.
“I didn’t get selected. I cried a lot; I was broken. But that incident taught me a lot. I realised that I had to be extraordinary to become successful, and that I had to achieve this purely through my own effort and hard work. My father showed me the right way, through action and not merely words.”
Prem passed away when Kohli was 18, a tragedy that affected the family greatly. “I accepted his death, as I was focused on moving forward with my career.
“In fact, I went and batted in a Ranji Trophy match the day after he died. His death made me realise that I had to make something of my life. I think about how nice it would be if I could have given my father the peaceful retired life that he deserved. At times, I get emotional thinking about him,” Kohli said.
Chhetri said he was a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar and stopped watching cricket after the latter retired. “I started watching cricket again only after Kohli emerged on the scene, hitting century after century. He is the most-loved sports personality in the country,” Chhetri said.