From ‘party animal’ to ‘fitness freak’: Ishant Sharma reveals unheard stories about Virat Kohli

India’s veteran pacer Ishant Sharma shares a very great bond with Virat Kohli, and the duo have been friends since the Under-17 days. Notably, both Ishant and Kohli used to represent West Delhi when they met each other for the first time, and the friendship from thereon is only ageing like a fine wine. After that, the pair also played first-class cricket and represented India at the U-19 and international levels together.

Ishant recalled those good old days and shared many unheard and surprising stories about one of India’s most successful Test captains. He spoke on topics ranging from his first meeting with the former India skipper to his transformation and much more.

Speaking on the TRS podcast by Ranveer Allahbadia, Ishant shed light on how Kohli teased him for wearing short lower when they first met, and he didn’t reply out of shyness.

“I was wearing a very small lower, and I had gone for U-17 trials. He (Kohli) had played U-15 for Delhi before. I had heard a lot about him. People used to call him Viru. He was from Rajkumar Sharma sir’s academy and in a match against them; he hammered me on a patta wicket. I was quick at that time but wayward,” said Ishant.

“After being hammered in that match, somehow my name came up for U-17 trials for Delhi. That’s where I met him and he told me, ‘lower to lele bhai apne size ka’. (Brother, at least buy a lower of your size). I was very shy at that time and did not interact at lot,” he added.

The 34-year-old fast bowler further hailed Kohli for his knowledge regarding the game and stated: “We used to play with the SF ball. He knew how to get the ball to reverse. In one of the games, he ensured the ball reverses, and I claimed 13 wickets. After that, we became good friends.”

Ishant also talked about Kohli’s transformation from a party animal to a fitness freak guy and shared an anecdote from the U-19 days when Kohli partied all night a day before the match and then hammered a double century in the game the next day. However, Ishant further praised the batter for his commitment towards fitness and determination.

“He has changed a lot. I have seen his party phase and his tattoo phase as well. We were playing an U-19 match in Kolkata. He was batting overnight, yet partied all night and next day he scored 250. I have seen that phase of Kohli as well,” recalled Ishant.

“The best thing about him, according to me, is how he changed his physical aspect starting 2012, after the World Cup. He was training, but because of his diet, his mental strength and cricket in general went to a different level,” he added.

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