It is a famous story of a young 18-year-old Virat Kohli going out to bat for his First Class team hours after losing his father to a cardiac arrest. Years later, Virat tells the story of what went on in his mind during that devastating moment.
The young boy from Delhi was playing a four-day game against Karnataka. He was not out overnight when his dad breathed his last at around 2:30 AM. The entire family broke down but Virat could not get a count of his emotions and went blank.
He said in an interview, “I was playing a four-day game at the time and was supposed to resume batting the next day when this (father passed) happened at 2:30 odd in the morning. We all woke up but had no idea what to do. I literally saw him breathe his last.”
“We drove him to the hospital where unfortunately they could not help revive him. My family broke down but I could not cry and there was no emotion. I could not register what had happened and I was blank,” he added.
But, he did not want to miss the game the next day and called his coach and told him that he wants to continue playing.
“I called my coach in the morning and told him what had happened and that I wanted to play because leaving a cricket match was not acceptable to me no matter what. While my teammates were consoling me in the dressing room I got overwhelmed by the emotion and broke down,” he said.
He believes that the tragic incident was the most impactful incident in his life because it made him more determined to play for the country. A couple of years later, he fulfilled his father’s dream when he made his ODI debut in 2008.
“Now I feel like it was the most impactful thing to have happened in my life. I came back from the game for the last rites and promised my brother that I will play for India. My father was keen that I play for India and that was when everything in life became second priority. Cricket became the first priority. Falling down and fighting back is part of sport and life, but the ability to comeback made me realize that one incident had made me so strong,” the 30-year-old said.
There is absolutely no doubt that Virat’s father Prem Kohli would have been extremely proud of his son’s achievements had he been alive today.