Virat Kohli and ABD: The cricketing world has always stayed witness to some excellent camaraderie and IPL opened the door for international icons stepping up in the franchise tournament, rubbing shoulders with the youth of the nation, not only enriching them with ample cricket knowledge but also teaching them how to turn the impossible into something a lot more plausible.
The duo of AB de Villiers, RCB Hall of Famer and Virat Kohli, former RCB captain and current opener, had been one of the most quintessential examples of bonhomie between two cricketers. Virat took over the mantle from Sachin Tendulkar, leading the lines for India with the bat while AB de Villiers has racked up impossible feats for South Africa, leading the nation to some seriously glittering exploits.
The duo, however, came together for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and even today when you open the ruffled pages of history citing the highest partnerships in the antiquity of the IPL, you will find ABD and Virat ruling the roost with an iron fist.
When Kohli first toured England in 2014, all he could gather was 134 runs from 10 innings with a highest score of 39. Hence, when he was gearing up for the following tour of the English shores in 2018, he had an interaction with De Villiers and that entirely changed his momentum. The rest they say is history.
Talking on the RCB Podcast Season 2, Virat Kohli said, “I remember AB telling me at that time. I spoke to him that I am feeling a bit jittery because I am not able to go and play in the county. He said this is not 2014, and you are not the same player. You would be absolutely fine. I became very calm after that. Before going to England in 2014, I had a good series at home against New Zealand. I scored a century and a 70. I was high on confidence.”
He further added on how he managed to brave the likes of James Anderson, Kohli’s early nemesis in 2014. Kohli said, “When we went to England in 2014, I thought I needed to prove myself here that was wrong in the first place. Because I went there to prove something that I can play in these conditions and not go there to kind of make my team win, that wasn’t my focal point. My main aim was to I need to prove that I can play here. I was always under pressure. And once things went back I was not able to find a way to get out of that. It was a very bad phase.” As the numbers changed from 139 to 593 runs in 2018, Kohli realised the world of difference that came along in the span of the last four years. He concluded by saying, “From 2014 to 2018, I did everything everywhere in the world and performed in every condition. But people just held on to one thing ‘Ohh but what about England’. That’s when I realised that probably I played cricket at a level of which I am certainly very proud of. I have won so many games for the team, but people are constantly looking at things which has not gone right.”