Honour to play with you, Sachin paaji: Virat Kohli's letter to his hero

Virat Kohli has paid rich tribute to his own hero, Sachin Tendulkar, who became the first cricketer ever to score 100 centuries in international cricket last week.

Updated: March 20, 2012 14:08 IST
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New Delhi: Virat Kohli is being hailed as Indian cricket's new big hit, after his 183 in the match against Pakistan on Sunday - the highest score by an Indian batsman against Pakistan. Today, he tweeted: "Will be rooting for srilanka today. cant wait to take the field in the finals. fingers crossed. thanx for ur wishes and support guys."

Bangladesh play Sri Lanka today in Dhaka and the result of match will decide India's fate in the Asia Cup. India will make it to final only if Sri Lanka beat the hosts. If Bangladesh win today, they will face Pakistan in the title clash.

The 23-year-old has also paid rich tribute to his own hero, Sachin Tendulkar, who became the first cricketer ever to score 100 centuries in international cricket last week. In a letter written to Sachin and published by newspaper DNA on March 18, Kohli writes:

"Dear Sachin Paaji, You have a million fans and I am one of them. In fact, I started playing cricket because of you. Simply watching you play motivated me. I don't know if you remember this but I first met you at Wankhede Stadium in 2007.

I was part of the Indian under-19 side and we were set to leave for New Zealand. Mr Lalchand Rajput was our coach and it was he who'd requested you to come and have a chat with us. I was barely 17 then and I must apologise that I - in fact, all my teammates - did not pay much attention to anything you said!

Well, we were simply in awe of you. The boys stood in a huddle and you were, literally and figuratively, the centre of attention.
You had told us about the conditions in New Zealand; you spoke about the bounce, the swing and how we need to tackle that. Your technical knowhow held me in good stead on that tour. "

Virat goes on to say, "People crave to shake hands with you, get your autographs, have a picture clicked and here I am so abundantly lucky to be sharing a dressing room with you. To get to know you personally has been a huge honour.

I have had a fairly good start to my international career and I want to thank you for helping me in every possible way. Paaji, I have never said this to you, but I actually connect with you very easily. I feel comfortable and reassured when I speak to you about my game and, invariably, you tell me what I am actually thinking! I consider it an honour to be on the same page with you...

On Friday, you achieved something which no other cricketer can or will. Yes, I know the last one year was frustrating, but I admire you for the way you handled yourself during this tough phase.

I was at the other end when you missed out on the landmark in Mumbai. It would have been great had you got it there, but it's fine. I know you were not desperate because that's what you have told me: never think too much, just play your game."

He ends by saying, "You had once told me during our 75-run stand during an ODI in Nagpur that I must follow my instincts. I am doing just that and the results are showing.

Yours lovingly,
Virat Kohli."

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