Virat Kohli plays a forward defensive shot during a match. File
India captain Virat Kohli has told how his late father refused to pay a bribe to get him into a Delhi state junior team when he was a teenager.
The world’s top ranked one-day batsman did not identify who had demanded the bribe but said he was rejected by the team, a rebuff that left him “broken”.
“In my home state... sometimes things happen that are not fair,” the Times of India newspaper and other media quoted Kohli as saying during an online forum with India’s football captain Sunil Chhetri.
“On one occasion, a certain person did not play by the rules for selection criteria,” the skipper added.
“He told my father while I had the merit, a little extra (bribe) was needed to confirm my selection.”
But Kohli said his father had insisted the selection had to be on merit alone.
“My father simply said, ‘If you want to select Virat then let it be purely on merit. I will give you nothing extra.’”
Kohli said he was in tears after being told he had not made the team. “I cried a lot. I was broken,” he declared.
“That incident taught me a lot. I realised that this is how the world is run,” he was quoted as saying.
“If you want to progress, do something that no one else is doing. If I had to become successful, I needed to be extraordinary.
“And I had to achieve this purely through my own effort and hard work.
“My father showed me the right way through his actions and not merely words. Those little things had a great impact on me,” Kohli was quoted as saying.
Kohli’s father, a lawyer, died when he was 18 and playing in a Ranji Trophy state match for Delhi. He returned to bat the day after his father’s death.
“I accepted his death as I was focused on moving forward with my career,” Kohli said.
“His death made me realise I had to make something of my life. Now I think about how nice it would be if I could have given my father the peaceful retired life he deserved. At times I get emotional thinking about him.”
Meanwhile, India’s cricket board (BCCI) will wait for more clarity on international travel restrictions before making a call on the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in July, a top board official told Reuters.
Virat Kohli’s team are scheduled to play three one-dayers and the same number of Twenty20 Internationals in Sri Lanka but the series is under threat due to measures imposed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nothing has been decided as yet, because we are not sure what would be the travel restrictions then,” BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal told Reuters by telephone.
“There is no clarity about it. So we’ll wait for that and accordingly take a call.”
India has extended a nationwide lockdown to May 31 while all commercial flights in and out of Sri Lanka remain suspended at least until the end of the month.
Bangladesh are being similarly cautious for their three-test series in Sri Lanka in July and August.
“We have to look at travelling restrictions in Bangladesh, and the quarantine protocols in both countries,” Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury told ESPNcricinfo.
“We have to be mindful of the players’ readiness ... we have to figure out other details about this tour.”
Sri Lanka have already had to postpone home series against England and South Africa because of the global health crisis.
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