India captain Virat Kohli today said that for the game cricket to sustain globally, Test cricket needs to be the premier format. "I believe Test cricket is paramount for the game to sustain globally. I would urge youngsters to take up a longer version of the game," Kohli said during the first ever Annual Conclave of Delhi & Districts Cricket Association.
It was an evening to remember where the legends of Delhi Cricket came together for the inauguration of stands named after Bishan Singh Bedi and Mohinder Amarnath.
After receiving the prestigious Delhi cap and a special trophy from his former coach Bishan Singh Bedi during his U-14 and U-16 days, Kohli revealed he was also at the receiving end of the uncompromising fitness demands made by the veteran.
"It is indeed an honour to receive the award from Bishan sir. From not understanding the importance of fitness and running away from him in under-15, under-17, under-19 cricket only because he made us train too much to becoming... my life right now is something he has been doing for ages now. So many people have been able to succeed because of that. Thank you, sir," Kohli fondly recollected in presence of Delhi legends and Sharmila Tagore, wife of former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
"It's a huge honour to stand with all Delhi captains. I myself have been a Delhi captain," said Kohli.
“When I started coming to this association to play cricket, like all my friends and teammates, I used to see the super stars of Delhi cricket and legends. I have learnt so much from them and aspired to be like them. To be able to be among them as India cricket captain is indeed an honour. Hopefully, I can keep doing the work that I am able to do till now along with my team," the 29-year old added.
Bedi on his part said: "I may not agree with some of his gestures on the field but I have not seen someone more intense than Virat on the field. I have never seen an Indian more intense than Virat. He will mellow down for sure but how much I have learnt watching Virat is unreal."
The straight-talking Bedi, as usual, was forthright in his assessment about how cricketers nowadays use Ranji Trophy or Duleep Trophy as a platform for IPL contract.
"To play for India, figures in first-class cricket comes in handy. Ranji Trophy should be played for the sake of Ranji Trophy and Duleep for the sake of Duleep. I don't understand the name of these teams like Red, Blue and Green," Bedi said.
Amarnath, meanwhile, recollected glory days of Delhi cricket.
"It was Bishan whose leadership gave Delhi cricket the respect. He was not just a captain but a leader of men," Amarnath said.
(With PTI Inputs)