There is a big emotional reason why superstar India and Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Virat Kohli wears the number 18 on the back of his jersey.
Every since his under-19 days – when he captained India to victory in the 2008 under-19 World Cup – Virat Kohli has worn the number 18 on his back; that continued during his entire India career. Fortunately for him, when he came in the national side in 2018, no senior was wearing the 18 number t-shirt so Kohli got that number happily.
We have seen so many cricketers changing their jersey numbers in their careers based on some superstition, but not Virat Kohli, who has now become synonymous with the number 18.
What is the reason for Virat Kohli wearing the number 18 jersey?
This is because Kohli’s father, Prem, passed away on 18th December 2006. Ever since then, this number 18 became attached to Kohli, who was only 17 then and at the time of the passing away of his father, Kohli was amidst a Ranji game for Delhi vs Karnataka.
It was a tough time for young Virat Kohli, who, although carrying the weight of the pain and grief of the demise of his father, decided to continue playing that Ranji game the next day, after having a discussion with his mother and his coach.
Not only Kohli played in that game, but also played a crucial 90-run knock that helped his side save a follow-on.
Why did Kohli play in that match?
A few years ago, Kohli recalled that difficult time, adding that his decision to turn up for the match the next morning his father died changed him as a person.
“I still remember the night my father passed away as it was the hardest time in my life. But the call to play the morning after my father’s death came instinctively to me,” Kohli had told CNN.
“I called my (Delhi) coach in the morning. I said I wanted to play, because for me not completing a cricket game is a sin. That was a moment that changed me as a person. The importance this sport holds in my life is very, very high.”
Virat Kohli now has over 23,000 international runs, is one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played the game, and has won India numerous accolades. His father would be proud of him.