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Virat Kohli says he feels ‘awkward’ playing in front of pavilion named after him

‘Local lad is bracing himself for his homecoming’

Sakshi Gupta
Wednesday 11 October 2023 06:21 BST
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Virat Kohli fields during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match between India and Australia in Chennai
Virat Kohli fields during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match between India and Australia in Chennai (AP)

Virat Kohli has said he will feel “awkward” playing in front of the pavilion named after him in India’s next World Cup match in Delhi.

The star batsman was referring to the venue for his country’s next game in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, in comments made to his team mate KL Rahul.

Team India are currently in Delhi, where Kohli grew up and embarked on his journey as a cricketer, for their second match in the World Cup against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

On the eve of the match, Kohli sat down with Rahul and discussed their match-winning partnership that helped the Men in Blues overcome Australia in their campaign opener last Sunday. Rahul also took the opportunity to ask about Kohli’s “homecoming” and what he felt about playing in Delhi.

“It’s a homecoming for you, we are going to Delhi. I’m sure it’s a very special feeling for you. You have grown up there and now you have a pavilion named after you, so what’s the feeling that you are going through?” Rahul asks Kohli in the video shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on X/Twitter.

“The memories are always fresh in your mind when you go back into those moments, you can still feel it because that is where everything started, that is where the selectors saw you for the first time and you got an opportunity,” replied Kohli, who started his professional cricket career in 2006.

“So it’s always special to go back and play at the Arun Jaitley Stadium now. It’s a bit awkward for me, to be still playing, and playing in front of the pavilion named after me,” he said.

“Honestly, I don’t like to talk about it a lot because it is a very awkward feeling but I just feel very grateful when I go back and see all the things that are present now and from where I started.”

In their recent match against Australia, when India lost three wickets for just two runs during their chase of 200, Rahul and Kohli brought the hosts’ innings back on track with a 165-run partnership.

“They both got #TeamIndia the first win of #CWC23... The local lad is bracing himself for his homecoming,” wrote BCCI on X.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had unveiled a pavilion named after Kohli in 2019 at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium that is now called the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

The former captain’s association with the Delhi stadium is not only special, but also quite emotional.

India’s upcoming World Cup meeting with Afghanistan at the Arun Jaitley Stadium will be more than just a match for Kohli; it will be a trip down memory lane, where it all began. 

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