'Selecting Kohli in 2008 ended my career as selector', claims former captain Vengsarkar
A file photo Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar has claimed that he lost his job as chairman of selectors for picking current skipper Virat Kohli over Tamil Nadu’s domestic heavyweight S. Badrinath in 2008.
Vengsarkar said the then BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan was allegedly not happy with the decision, which eventually led to his ouster as a selector.
He said he was very keen on picking Kohli for the tour of Sri Lanka - who had led India to U-19 World Cup victory.
Recalling the instance at a public function Vengsarkar said, “There was an Emerging Players tournament in Australia (for) youngsters — four A-teams were there — India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Me and my colleagues decided that we will take the U-23 boys and at that time we had won the U-19 World Cup, Virat Kohli was the U-19 captain and I selected him in the team.”
Vengsarkar also alleged that then captain M.S. Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were also sceptical about the selection.
"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, referring to the other members of the selection panel.
“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.
The former captain alleged that he sensed some uneasiness with Kohli’s selection as Badrinath played IPL for Chennai Super Kings, which was then owned by erstwhile secretary 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 this boy Kohli exceptional.
“So I have 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 an angry Srinivasan asked “when he will get a chance, he is 29-years-old? I replied: ‘Whenever the time comes’.”
Vengsarkar claimed that soon after, he was replaced by Kris Srikkanth as chairman of selectors.
“Srinivasan then made Srikkanth the chairman and I was sent home. That was the end of my career as a selector.”
Virat Kohli was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012 and handed over the Test captaincy following Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Test retirement in 2014.
In early 2017, he became the limited-overs captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from the position.