Having once fought a battle with the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) administrators and selectors over two very talented youngsters, former India cricketer Atul Wassan says he had to get into the tussle for the sake of getting Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma to play for Delhi all those years back.
Virat, who now is India's best batsman across all formats of the game, wouldn't even have played for Delhi, if as Wassan revealed, selectors had kept ignoring his performances at the club and school level tournaments.
Wassan told Khaleej Times in an interview, "You know, Virat came from my academy. He first came to us when he was 11. I have seen him develop in his junior cricket days. I was the one who picked him and Ishant (Sharma) to play for Delhi." adding, "The Delhi management wasn't keen to pick them because they were playing for India U19. But I fought for them and both made their Ranji debut in the same match. And the rest is history,"
"His(Virat's) coach Raj Kumar Sharma is my very good friend. In fact, we started the academy together. So we spoke to Virat about his issues and he listened to us, you know." Wassan further revealed, "After that his focus has been amazing. Sometimes people think he is too aggressive on the field. But actually, he is just genuinely confident about his ability to manage everything. He wants to win every time he steps on the field."
While Virat scored 593 runs, Ishant picked up 18 wickets in the just concluded five-match Test series in England.
Talking about the latter and his brilliant performance as an experienced veteran of the Indian fast bowling unit, Wassan said, "I just sent him a message that it's the best I have seen him bowl. Last year I was the chairman of selectors for Delhi and he was available for us." and added, "These days he is playing only Test matches. He is not getting picked for IPL which is a big blow, But Ishant took it in his stride and you can see that in the way he is bowling now. You know you can't play 80-85 Test matches for India if you are not good!"