India news April 11, 2012

What Kohli taught Yuvraj

38

Yuvraj Singh has said that Virat Kohli is a "very special kid" and that he had learnt a lot from the early years of Kohli's career. "Since the time he has joined the Indian team, I saw his work ethic and I wished and wondered why I didn't have that work ethic when I was his age," Yuvraj said during his first media conference on returning to India after receiving treatment in the USA for a rare cancer.

Kohli has come to represent the most promising face of Indian cricket currently and was even appointed vice-captain ahead of Gautam Gambhir for the recent Asia Cup. At the start of the 2000s, after he made his ODI debut for India, it was Yuvraj who belonged in those shoes. He was asked as to what his advice would be to Kohli to prevent him from repeating the mistakes Yuvraj himself may have made ten years ago.

As the question ended, a grin broke out on Yuvraj's face and his reply in Hindi was completely tongue-in-cheek. "Woh bahut badi cheez hai" roughly translates as a description of Kohli being both the next big thing in cricket as well as quite a character.

More seriously, Yuvraj said that Kohli was a "very special kid" and "really talented". "Actually I have learnt a lot from him," Yuvraj said. "His work ethic is brilliant, his focus is immense. Since the time he has joined the Indian team, I saw his work ethic and wished and wondered why I didn't have that work ethic when I was his age." Yuvraj said he talked a lot to Kohli because he had realised that for an Indian cricketer, early success made his 20s "a very vulnerable age." "When you get success in your 20s, you can get vulnerable and it can affect your focus. So I try and help him with whatever I can... at times you have to keep him in check, under control sometimes."

Kohli's tally of 11 ODI centuries in 85 ODIs over a four-year period was "a phenomenal record," according to Yuvraj. He said he wished he could have had such a record, "but unfortunately I batted down the order, but he is a very special player in the making." Yuvraj was happy to see Kohli being made India vice-captain at a young age and said, "I hope he goes up the ladder stronger and stronger. I am very happy for his success."

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • champ1388 on April 12, 2012, 20:54 GMT

    KiwiRocker... I doubt your knowledge and I am not sure how much u follow cricket. Kohli has hardly failed anywhere ..he wasnt A SITTING DUCK , in England a phrase u often use for the indian players. He scored in the one day series in South Africa, he scored a century in the UK (cardiff). He scored in Perth and Adelaide. He scored in one day series in Australia too. He smashed your overrated pak bowlers all around the park and made them look below club level bowler. Your hate for Kohli is quite obvious. I hope u return on this forum

  • on April 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    Delhi Lad learning very quickly and proving himself worthy in all situations ...The way he has created his position in Indian Team by grabbing small small opportunities is really gr8 to see....Raina and Rohit should learn from him.. The way he plays and entertain really amazing but to lead Indian team, selectors should give him ample amount of time so that he matured in his age and thinking....... Go Virat......!!

  • rahulcricket007 on April 12, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @kiwirocker . KOHLI ONLY PLAYED IN ODIS IN ENG . IN 5 ODIS HE MADE ONE HALF CENTURY & ONE CENTURY . IN AUS HE WAS FLOPPED IN FIRST TWO TESTS . BUT IN PERTH HE MADE 75 IN SECOND INNINGS & IN ADELAIDE HE SCORED A HUNDRED . IN CB SERIES HE HIT 2 HALF CENTURIES & ONE CENTURY . SO IN TOTAL AUS TOUR HE MADE 3 HALF CENTURIES & 2 CENTURIES WHICH IS A VERY GOOD RECORD CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT HE IS ONLY 22 YEARS OLD & THIS WAS HIS FIRST AUS TOUR . ALSO IN DHAKA HE HIT MANY BOUNDARIES AGAINST THE LIKE OF AJMAL AGAINST WHICH WHOLE ENG SIDE STRUGGLES .

  • satish619chandar on April 12, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    As of now, Virat is in good form and he is cashing on it.. But what separates men from boys is to do it consistently on all stages.. Let Virat be the Vice captain of the team and captains swapped across formats.. MSD/Viru/Gauti all are decent captains and if MSD doesn't prefer tests, lets have Viru/Gauti leading the test team, and Virat as his deputy in all formats.. Let him learn the trade and am sure the additional responsibility might change his behavior too.. Let him be under shadow like ABD and take it up day by day..

  • Haleos on April 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    @Aashishk3 - i hope he does not become anything like the current tendulkar. He just chases records nowadays.

  • sweetspot on April 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    @Yevghenny - So the rest of the world lost the World Cup to a less than international side? It's a skill game, and if its highest crown was to be won by wiry, strong, fit, lean, disciplined sides, SA would have won it thrice by now, at the very least.

  • Haleos on April 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    @Meety - when such behavior is shown by Oz/English/SA cricketers it is said they are playing though cricket. Eg. Slater and entire Aussie team of that time, S Board, Andre Nel etc. Why is it that people can not digest it when an Asian cricketer does it. He is termed as arrogant.

  • soumyas on April 12, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    yuvraj with teammates like bajji lost their mind. they behaved badly when they got success...

  • on April 12, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    seeing the current IPL performance, the talents are without doubt Rahane & Rohith...they are class players some shots played by both these players are mindblowing..but other expetec lots like Manoj tiwary,Sourav tiwary,Manish Pandey,Surya Kumar yadav ( yes he faced only 2 balls...),Mayank Agarwal,Chetheswar Pujara all throwing their wickets...But Mandeep Sing and Ashok Meneria is coming good..

  • KiwiRocker- on April 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    This is the same old script that has been seen in the Indian cricket. Virat Kohli is an above average player who is made to look good among Pathetic Indian batsmen and bowlers( worse in the world) who are milking the worthless circus IPL. Kohli was a sitting duck in England on seaming pitches, he miserably failed in first half of Australia tour..Mate! scoring few runs on flat Dhaka pitches thanks to favourable second inning conditions does not make you Sir Viv Richards..Virat Kohli is without a doubt proming young talent. He should not be burdened with all this hype...Same was done to poor Irfan Pathan who was started to be compared to Wasim Akram after couple of yorkers..Indian back bench talent is very thin and failed players like Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma are still getting unnecessary chances- They failed everywhere in the world and score an odd innings on flat pitches and are touted as big things! This will continue until the most over rated batsman of history,Tendulya retires!

  • champ1388 on April 12, 2012, 20:54 GMT

    KiwiRocker... I doubt your knowledge and I am not sure how much u follow cricket. Kohli has hardly failed anywhere ..he wasnt A SITTING DUCK , in England a phrase u often use for the indian players. He scored in the one day series in South Africa, he scored a century in the UK (cardiff). He scored in Perth and Adelaide. He scored in one day series in Australia too. He smashed your overrated pak bowlers all around the park and made them look below club level bowler. Your hate for Kohli is quite obvious. I hope u return on this forum

  • on April 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    Delhi Lad learning very quickly and proving himself worthy in all situations ...The way he has created his position in Indian Team by grabbing small small opportunities is really gr8 to see....Raina and Rohit should learn from him.. The way he plays and entertain really amazing but to lead Indian team, selectors should give him ample amount of time so that he matured in his age and thinking....... Go Virat......!!

  • rahulcricket007 on April 12, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @kiwirocker . KOHLI ONLY PLAYED IN ODIS IN ENG . IN 5 ODIS HE MADE ONE HALF CENTURY & ONE CENTURY . IN AUS HE WAS FLOPPED IN FIRST TWO TESTS . BUT IN PERTH HE MADE 75 IN SECOND INNINGS & IN ADELAIDE HE SCORED A HUNDRED . IN CB SERIES HE HIT 2 HALF CENTURIES & ONE CENTURY . SO IN TOTAL AUS TOUR HE MADE 3 HALF CENTURIES & 2 CENTURIES WHICH IS A VERY GOOD RECORD CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT HE IS ONLY 22 YEARS OLD & THIS WAS HIS FIRST AUS TOUR . ALSO IN DHAKA HE HIT MANY BOUNDARIES AGAINST THE LIKE OF AJMAL AGAINST WHICH WHOLE ENG SIDE STRUGGLES .

  • satish619chandar on April 12, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    As of now, Virat is in good form and he is cashing on it.. But what separates men from boys is to do it consistently on all stages.. Let Virat be the Vice captain of the team and captains swapped across formats.. MSD/Viru/Gauti all are decent captains and if MSD doesn't prefer tests, lets have Viru/Gauti leading the test team, and Virat as his deputy in all formats.. Let him learn the trade and am sure the additional responsibility might change his behavior too.. Let him be under shadow like ABD and take it up day by day..

  • Haleos on April 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    @Aashishk3 - i hope he does not become anything like the current tendulkar. He just chases records nowadays.

  • sweetspot on April 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    @Yevghenny - So the rest of the world lost the World Cup to a less than international side? It's a skill game, and if its highest crown was to be won by wiry, strong, fit, lean, disciplined sides, SA would have won it thrice by now, at the very least.

  • Haleos on April 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    @Meety - when such behavior is shown by Oz/English/SA cricketers it is said they are playing though cricket. Eg. Slater and entire Aussie team of that time, S Board, Andre Nel etc. Why is it that people can not digest it when an Asian cricketer does it. He is termed as arrogant.

  • soumyas on April 12, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    yuvraj with teammates like bajji lost their mind. they behaved badly when they got success...

  • on April 12, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    seeing the current IPL performance, the talents are without doubt Rahane & Rohith...they are class players some shots played by both these players are mindblowing..but other expetec lots like Manoj tiwary,Sourav tiwary,Manish Pandey,Surya Kumar yadav ( yes he faced only 2 balls...),Mayank Agarwal,Chetheswar Pujara all throwing their wickets...But Mandeep Sing and Ashok Meneria is coming good..

  • KiwiRocker- on April 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    This is the same old script that has been seen in the Indian cricket. Virat Kohli is an above average player who is made to look good among Pathetic Indian batsmen and bowlers( worse in the world) who are milking the worthless circus IPL. Kohli was a sitting duck in England on seaming pitches, he miserably failed in first half of Australia tour..Mate! scoring few runs on flat Dhaka pitches thanks to favourable second inning conditions does not make you Sir Viv Richards..Virat Kohli is without a doubt proming young talent. He should not be burdened with all this hype...Same was done to poor Irfan Pathan who was started to be compared to Wasim Akram after couple of yorkers..Indian back bench talent is very thin and failed players like Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma are still getting unnecessary chances- They failed everywhere in the world and score an odd innings on flat pitches and are touted as big things! This will continue until the most over rated batsman of history,Tendulya retires!

  • SamRoy on April 12, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    About 18 months ago, Yuvraj was telling that younsters like Virat and Rohit do not listen to him. They were making the same mistakes which he had committed as a youngster. Now what he is saying is a perfect U-turn on Virat. Well, I can't make any head and tail of what he wants to say except that he is contradicting his own statements.

  • CaptainMurugan on April 12, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    Sad that comments such as Erica's below get published and gems such as this might not see the light ..

  • Meety on April 12, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Kholi's on-field actions have meant I don't particularly like him, HOWEVER, any fool can see that this bloke is VERY talented. I think it is pretty obvious that he is a future LONG TERM captain of India. I think he will be Ganguly-like as a captain (that is good & bad), but a much better batsmen. If he can inspire an "old" pro like Yurav, he could well be a great leader of men. He has some massive shoes to fill. I think the Indian brain's trust may need to consider moving Kholi to #3 in tests. I think he would be brilliant there. Don't like him, but I FULLY respect his talents! His work ethic that Yurav speaks of, can be seen in his fielding, IMO he is far & away the best fieldsmen India have EVER produced. I really mean EVER!

  • kumarms_2000 on April 11, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    Lot of luck factors in too. When yuvi was in his 20s, the position available for him to play is only down the order. Yuvi was a top order batsmen in his under19 days. Usually all the records ( so far in the cricket world history) have set by top order bats men because of the time they have in the game. Virat happened in a time when seniors are fading away. In Indian cricket it is a 10 year cycle , if not more. Dravid mentioned it from time to time that he was lucky enough to be in his position even when there are so many great players remain in Ranjis only. VVS Laxman expressed his concern too but adjust to his position in order to achieve his dream of playing for india no matter what. Hope Rohit , Pujara, Rahane etc will understand the value of this and play for india with a better focus. Anyways, none of these plays have standards to play outside india, so i better dont say much about any indian player who was consistant outside india, let it be Tendulkar or Ganguly.. Go Dravid

  • Aashishk3 on April 11, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Kohli will never be another Tendulkar.... BUT he will be great of his own! He will be Virat Kohli!

  • on April 11, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    Forget Yuvraj...but if the super talented Pujara,Rohit Sharma,Rahane,Manoj Tiwary learn from Virat Kohli and improve their standards taking Kohli as inspiration then Rahane at no 1 with gambhir as other opener and Kohli at no 3, Sharma at 4,Pujara at 5 and Manoj tiwari at 6 in test matches wil be better than fab4(Sachin,Dravid,Ganguly,VVS) and the Indian batting for next 7-8 years will be in good hands. Rahane and Tiwary will probably have to make way for better ODI players like Raina and Yuvraj in LOI cricket..somwhat akin to past where Dravid and VVS found no place in ODI teams most of times.

  • on April 11, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Kohlis are ruling India. Kohli is ruling cricket and Manmohan Singh Kohli is PM of India (sort of).

  • on April 11, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    He himself has to blame for his under achievement. If not for his arrogance, he would hv been captain by now. I think Dhoni was made captain out of nowhere without any thought. Yuvi lost chance mainly due to his arrogant careless behaviour and viru by his loss of form at that time. So the captaincy went to dhoni. If Kohli maintains this record for many years, god only knows what happens to indian cricket and records..............................

  • HyderabadiFlick on April 11, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Ricky Ponting of India is in the making. Kohli's attitude on the field and the way he approaches his game and the way he approaches the run chases is reminiscent of the great Ponting. As Yuvi has said Virat will go a long long way and achieve the maximum success in his career. Kolhi should be slotted at No.4 in Test Cricket, where the great batsmen of the team bat. In ODIs and T20 he should be batting at No.3. All the very best for the new star of Indian Cricket. - Jai Hind.

  • on April 11, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Indis needs to realize that the ultimste goal should be to make virst the best batsman in the world not captain, it will put pressure on his game. Irfan pathan, is good canidate for captain. Dhoni is good captain for now.

  • zico123 on April 11, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    amid all compliments and hype around him, Kohli has to stay hunble, can't let his head go big, should keep his head on his shoulder, and should tell himself that he has in him to be the best ODI and Test player of the world, it is up to him if he wants to rewrite record books, it is how badly he wants it, all the best Kohli.

  • ranjithrissur on April 11, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    when it comes to sheer talent, yuvi is far ahead of anyone.. but those vulnerabilities has caused him a bit, but the new yuvi will something different from the old version. he will ruleeeeeeeeeeee

  • Cricket_Man on April 11, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Get well soon Yuvraj. Dear Sharda Ugra when Yuvraj said "Woh bahut badi cheez hai" he was referring to the advice and not Kohli ( no credit taken away from Kohli's talent). I think he sarcastically meant to say that the advice for Kohli was too big. I think you misinterpreted it. From a Pakistani Yuvi fan.

  • MitenD on April 11, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Kohli is super special. To get into this Indian team as a batsman and to do so by keeping Rohit Sharma out is no small feat. I just hope that he holds on to his work ethic and humility and keeps striving for more.

  • purna478 on April 11, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    both attitude nd batting agression r same batting order is different

  • on April 11, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Even I wish I had the work ethic of Kohli in whatever field I am !! And everybody should have that .. Truly amazing how well he has handled himself and his talent in the short span of time he has played international cricket ! I must say he has only improved with every game !

  • on April 11, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    There is no doubt on Virat abilities, the way he plays is very good !!! looks like a new tendulkar in the making...

  • Poda_Pokkai on April 11, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    May you be the Steve Jobs of Cricket, and take bite of his apple and invent success in your latest reincarnation. Eve's apple changed one Man, Steve's apple changed the whole mankind. All the best Yuvi. - Rajesh

  • Al_Bundy1 on April 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    Excellent remarks by a pro. The job of a senior player is not just to play for himself, but also mentor youngsters. Unlike the so-called GOD of cricket who won't quit talking about his meaningless 100th 100, Yuvi is not bragging about his MVP (Most Valuable Player) role in World Cup 2011. Instead he spent a lot of time in this interview to encourage a youngster. What a player!!

  • on April 11, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Good to see this. Indeed, it's only Kohli's focus and ambition which has seen him pull ahead of Raina, Rohit , Tiwary and the rest of the young brigade. The way he builds his innings is an object lesson - he often starts with a SR of 70/80 before rapidly making up to run-a-ball as he gets his eye in. More importantly, ever since he got a look-in, he has never relinquished his spot by his own failing. He might've had an attitude which was typical of the young and successful, but his aptitude never wavered. Crucially, his stint for RCB had him seeking out mentors like Dravid and Kumble to fine-tune the mental side of his game. Neither Rohit has tapped into Tendulkar, nor Raina into Murali, Hussey etc. in the same manner with ample opportunities. Yuvraj always had the talent, let's hope - he still has time to do some justice to it. But the change in tone, and acknowledgment of past mistakes is a good step!

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    This article does not say anything about what Yuvraj said about Kohli.."Just a Special kid" and "Bahut Badi Cheez hai" does not say anything. Publish something in Black and white , this article is scrap, dont make people waste their time on "zero Matter article", these kind of words are used by a layman, we hope to read better fron ESPNCricinfo.

  • bvnathan on April 11, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Nice to note Yuvraj self evaluation and judgement - "His (Virat) work ethic is brilliant, his focus is immense. Since the time he has joined the Indian team, I saw his work ethic and wished and wondered why I didn't have that work ethic when I was his age." GET WELL SOON and HOPE TO SEE YOU IN ACTION FOR INDIA

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Hope upcoming indian players are reading this piece and I hope that other international players are not@@@lolz

  • Abdurrazaaq on April 11, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Yuvi is a Highly talented cricketer as well as a huge under achiever, If I were the Indian captain, I would still keep him part of the playing 11. He just has the ability to turn a game on its head. Get well soon Yuvi.

  • anandbv on April 11, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    If Yuvraj had half the temparment and attitude of Kohli...he would have been a even bigger force to reckon with in the world arena. I am not saying Kohli is perfect or has the best attitude but he has taken a hit early and has learnt to keep his feet grounded. Yuvraj, unfortunately, never learnt to keep his feet grounded and is hence where he is today.

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Common Yuvi, u too was special kid when u and Md Kafi won the under 19 World Cup for India. You initially was only batsman but now u have become an all rounder for India. You can hit 6 sixes in an over which not an single player in world cricket have done. You should be thankful to god that you are playing for Team India and hats off to you for your 100% commitment when u are playing cricket. Yes Kohli is blossoming into good player but you too are special cricket with your own talents.

  • Yevghenny on April 11, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Kohli does seem to be the real deal, and by the sounds of it, he could inspire a few other portly indians to stop strolling around the field and actually look like an international side!

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    So true. Virat Kohli u r the king

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  • on April 11, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    So true. Virat Kohli u r the king

  • Yevghenny on April 11, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Kohli does seem to be the real deal, and by the sounds of it, he could inspire a few other portly indians to stop strolling around the field and actually look like an international side!

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Common Yuvi, u too was special kid when u and Md Kafi won the under 19 World Cup for India. You initially was only batsman but now u have become an all rounder for India. You can hit 6 sixes in an over which not an single player in world cricket have done. You should be thankful to god that you are playing for Team India and hats off to you for your 100% commitment when u are playing cricket. Yes Kohli is blossoming into good player but you too are special cricket with your own talents.

  • anandbv on April 11, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    If Yuvraj had half the temparment and attitude of Kohli...he would have been a even bigger force to reckon with in the world arena. I am not saying Kohli is perfect or has the best attitude but he has taken a hit early and has learnt to keep his feet grounded. Yuvraj, unfortunately, never learnt to keep his feet grounded and is hence where he is today.

  • Abdurrazaaq on April 11, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Yuvi is a Highly talented cricketer as well as a huge under achiever, If I were the Indian captain, I would still keep him part of the playing 11. He just has the ability to turn a game on its head. Get well soon Yuvi.

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Hope upcoming indian players are reading this piece and I hope that other international players are not@@@lolz

  • bvnathan on April 11, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Nice to note Yuvraj self evaluation and judgement - "His (Virat) work ethic is brilliant, his focus is immense. Since the time he has joined the Indian team, I saw his work ethic and wished and wondered why I didn't have that work ethic when I was his age." GET WELL SOON and HOPE TO SEE YOU IN ACTION FOR INDIA

  • on April 11, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    This article does not say anything about what Yuvraj said about Kohli.."Just a Special kid" and "Bahut Badi Cheez hai" does not say anything. Publish something in Black and white , this article is scrap, dont make people waste their time on "zero Matter article", these kind of words are used by a layman, we hope to read better fron ESPNCricinfo.

  • on April 11, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Good to see this. Indeed, it's only Kohli's focus and ambition which has seen him pull ahead of Raina, Rohit , Tiwary and the rest of the young brigade. The way he builds his innings is an object lesson - he often starts with a SR of 70/80 before rapidly making up to run-a-ball as he gets his eye in. More importantly, ever since he got a look-in, he has never relinquished his spot by his own failing. He might've had an attitude which was typical of the young and successful, but his aptitude never wavered. Crucially, his stint for RCB had him seeking out mentors like Dravid and Kumble to fine-tune the mental side of his game. Neither Rohit has tapped into Tendulkar, nor Raina into Murali, Hussey etc. in the same manner with ample opportunities. Yuvraj always had the talent, let's hope - he still has time to do some justice to it. But the change in tone, and acknowledgment of past mistakes is a good step!

  • Al_Bundy1 on April 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    Excellent remarks by a pro. The job of a senior player is not just to play for himself, but also mentor youngsters. Unlike the so-called GOD of cricket who won't quit talking about his meaningless 100th 100, Yuvi is not bragging about his MVP (Most Valuable Player) role in World Cup 2011. Instead he spent a lot of time in this interview to encourage a youngster. What a player!!