Former India skipper, Virat Kohli is on the verge of becoming the 12th Indian cricketer to play 100 Test when Team India will be locking horns with Sri Lanka in the opening Test of the two-match series in Mohali. Ahead of this historic Test, Punit Bisht, Kohli’s former Delhi teammate, a valiant partnership they built 16 years ago during their Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka.
Delhi witnessed a poor start against Karnataka, and Virat Kohli and Punit Bisht remained unbeaten at the middle at stumps on Day 2 in the aim to revive the innings. It was arguably Kohli’s toughest day to date in his cricket career. He had witnessed the demise of his father Prem, who suffered a brain stroke just a couple of hours back in the middle of the night.
During an interview with PTI, Punit Bisht explained the courage and character Kohli had shown after his father’s unfortunate death.
During an interview with PTI, Punish Bisht said, “To this day I wonder, how in the world did he muster the courage to drop in at the ground. We were all numb at his tragedy and here the boy was standing in the dressing room and ready to go out and bat. Mind it, his father’s last rites hadn’t been performed and he had just come because he didn’t want his team to lose a batter as we were not in a great position.”
Further, Punit Bisht recalled how Mithun Manhas, then Delhi captain, and coach Chetan Chauhan had suggested Virat Kohli to return home.
The Delhi cricketer recalled “Chetan sir, if memory doesn’t serve me wrong, was our coach that season. Both Chetan sir and Mithun bhai told Virat to go home as they were not sure whether it would be a prudent idea to let the kid go out there in a tense situation and how he would mentally cope up. Trust me, no one in the team even had a second thought that he should go back and be with his family and take his own time to grieve. But this is Virat Kohli we are talking about. He was made of different stuff.”
Virat Kohli ended up playing a gritty knock 238-ball 90, while Bisht made 156 off 283 balls as the duo forged a 152-run partnership to help Delhi avoid a defeat. Bisht tried to explain how Kohli had played during their partnership.
Punit Bisht concluded, “Virat was in a zone during those hours. I think for those few hours, he had stopped reacting to grief and showed grit like never before. He played some lovely flicks and his signature cover drive. We had a very little conversation. He would just come and say, ‘lamba khelna hai, out nahi hona hai’. Often in my heart, a feeling would crop up that let me just put my hand on his head, say a few words of comfort. My head said that no, we have a job to do, and let’s focus on that. I think he got a debatable decision and missed out on a hundred.”