It is well documented fact that Rajkumar Sharma’s contribution in Virat Kohli’s progression from a precocious talent to a world-class batsman has been immense.
A strict disciplinarian, the ‘Guru’ did become emotional during 2014 Teacher’s Day by a gesture from his ‘shishya’ which he would never be able to forget.
The book ‘Driven’ written by veteran sports journalist Vijay Lokapally recalls one such overwhelming incident.
The author wrote:”I answered the bell and found Vikas (Kohli’s elder brother) at the door,” said Raj Kumar.
“His brother’s arrival at his house so early in the day was cause for concern. Vikas stepped into the house, dialled a number and handed his cell phone to Raj Kumar. ‘Happy teacher’s Day Sir,’ said Virat, even as Vikas thrust something into Rajkumar’s palms — a bunch of keys.
“Rajkumar stood perplexed as Vikas requested him to step out of his house. A gleaming Skoda Rapid was parked at the gate — a gift from Virat to his mentor.”
“It was not merely because he had gifted me the car. It was because of his emotional touch to the process of reminding me how much he treasured our association, and valued the role of a teacher in his life.”
If this was an emotional incident, there was a funny one too. Virat may feel ‘what’s there in a name’ but there are others who may think otherwise.
Yuvraj Singh in his book ‘Test of My Life’ wrote that he thought that Virat Kohli’s must have got his now famous nickname ‘Chikoo’ from the famous comic series ‘Champak’ which had a character by the same name.
But a new book written on the Indian Test captain reveals the ‘secret’ behind Kohli getting such a ‘fruity nickname’.
The author writes:”The Delhi team was playing Ranji Trophy match in Mumbai. Virat has not even played a total of 10 first-class matches. He was a part of set-up that included players he had looked up to — (Virender) Sehwag, (Gautam) Gambhir, (Rajat) Bhatia and (Mithun) Manhas. He was more than happy to be sharing dressing room with them.
“One evening, he returned to the hotel with his hair nicely cropped. He has spotted a fancy hair salon close by and given himself a new look. ‘How is it?’ he asked excitedly as he ran into a couple of younger colleagues. ‘Not bad, you look like a Chikoo (Sapodilla),” joked Ajit Chowdhary, the assistant coach looking from a distance.
“The name struck. Chikoo. Virat didn’t mind it all.
“He was still trying to find his feet in the big world of domestic cricket circuit. He liked it when he got attention. I have not known a more competitive youngster. He was just hungry for more — runs and attention,” said Chowdhary, the only person other than coach Rajkumar Sharma to have admonished Virat.”