This year marks the 34th birthday of Padma Shri, award-winning cricketer Virat Kohli. Whether knocking the highest number of double centuries in consecutive Test series or the fastest 1,000 runs in ODIs, Kohli has a flair for setting new records. Over the years, he has recharged Indian cricket with leadership, talent, and discipline. For all the 'King Kohli' fans out there, here are five exciting and lesser-known facts about him from his biography on Audible titled Virat Kohli.
Kohli was torn between his love for Cricket and Tennis
"There was a time when Virat Kohli had to pick between his love for Tennis and Cricket, but he eventually took to cricket due to the accessibility of the sport and the encouragement of the many important people in his life." The audiobook further mentions "It was not until a few years later that he decided to pursue it professionally and make a career out of it", as mentioned by the narrator.
His father's demise changed his approach to the game
"Kohli's father (Prem Kohli) was his biggest support system and the man who had helped him take his baby steps into the world of cricket by walking him into the West Delhi Cricket Academy(WDCA), tirelessly drove him around town so that he could chase his dreams, accompanied him for various cricket matches and made him believe that it was alright to fail as long as he had the courage to try again."
Virat Kohli was deeply shocked by the unexpected demise of his father Prem Kohli, in December 2006.
"The way I approached the game changed that day. I just had one thing in my mind that I have to play for my country and live that dream for my dad," shared Kohli in the audiobook on Audible.
The author further adds that "He turned even this personal tragedy into something inspiring. The same day of his father's demise, Virat decided to continue playing a Ranji trophy match against Karnataka showing his extreme proficiency in the sport. Even after being extremely devastated by the events that transpired he was the first to report to the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium the next day."
Sachin Tendulkar is his most looked up to icon and inspiration to pursue Cricket
Indian batsman and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar had a massive influence on Kohli when he was a young boy mentions the audiobook on Audible.
"After the Indian team had claimed the top spot in the ICC test rankings, Kohli acknowledged his (Sachin Tendulkar's) presence with a bow. Kohli also carried his hero Tendulkar on his shoulders and paraded him proudly stating how he carried a burden for the nation for 21 years... The moment was symbolic and marked the last World Cup game for him (Sachin) who was passing on the mantle to the future of Indian cricket and was a dream come true for the Indian team," shared the narrator. While talking about Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar mentions "Kohli's biggest strength is to be able to analyze the situation and adjust his game. His match awareness is terrific".
He loves football and has a stake in FC Goa
Kohli showed a keen interest in the franchisee-based sports league when it first arrived in India. He started off by buying a stake in FC Goa, a team in the Indian Super League football tournament that started in September 2014. "One of their highlights each year is a celebrity football match that raises funds for charity. In September 2014, he became the co-owner of ISL Football Club FC Goa in July 2016," shared the narrator. "You can't be a complete introvert. Some might think I'm pretty young to do something like this or it is a step taken too early, but nothing is too early. If you believe in something you have to put your 100 per cent commitment to it. I want football to grow in India," Kohli said on his love for football and his intent to promote it.
While Virat Kohli is Vegan now, he was a true-blue desi foodie
"Besides cricket, Kohli's second love has always been food. Ranging from eating burgers to butter chicken to his mom's tasty delicacies, there was no cuisine he left untouched, making the most of anything scrumptious available on the streets of Delhi. He could not say no to an extra helping at dinner until he realised the need to maintain a healthy diet. Moreover, he was still a work in progress when it came to aspects such as fitness and attitude. A few journalists remember him jumping on fast food during interviews, oblivious to his dietary requirements. Away from the ground, he chose to hit the gym to get fitter, saying no to partying which people his age normally love. He developed other interests such as music and reading and was soon most comfortable in the company of a cookbook," shared the narrator.
Despite all the fame and money that he's earned, Kohli still remains true to the sport that has given him all the recognition. For cricket-crazy India, Kohli is a hero whom they can call their own and worship in the years to come.