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‘I said I would bat anywhere, just give me a chance to play’: Virat Kohli recalls how Suresh Raina’s recommendation worked for him | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: In a recent interaction on JioCinema at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, former India teammates Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina shared a moment of camaraderie ahead of a crucial IPL 2024 match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
This meeting also served as a reminder of a pivotal moment in Kohli’s early career during the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia in 2008.Kohli recounted how Raina’s intervention was instrumental in providing him an opportunity to showcase his talent.


Initially, Kohli was not selected in the playing XI, a decision made by then-coach Pravin Amre. Raina, upon observing Kohli’s abilities in the nets, recommended his name.
Recalling the moment, Kohli said:
“I think it was 2008. It was an Indian match. We were playing in the Emerging Players tournament in Australia in 2008. The significance of the Emerging Players tournament at that time was that the best cricketers who were on the verge of playing for their country would come to play there, and it was a very important tournament for us. So I still remember that Raina might have heard about me. He came mid-tournament. Initially, S Badrinath was the captain, but when Raina arrived, he took over the captaincy. Pravin Amre was our coach, and he had kept me out of the playing eleven.

“So Raina saw me playing in the nets and asked Amre sir why I wasn’t playing. I used to bat in the middle order, while Ajinkya Rahane opened. Amre sir said there wasn’t a spot available in the team. Then Raina insisted that I should be played, so Pravin sir called me and asked if I would open,” the former RCB captain added.
“I said I would do anything (bat anywhere), just give me a chance to play. So I opened against New Zealand. Dilip Vengsarkar sir was the selector at that time. I scored 120 not out, and he probably decided then and there that I should be given further opportunities,” Kohli said, acknowledging Raina’s role in earning Kohli a chance in the early days of his cricketing career.
Following CSK’s emphatic win against RCB in the tournament opener, the two teams will clash again for a playoff spot at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. This crucial match will determine who bags the last available slot in the playoffs and join Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals.

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