Star batter Virat Kohli expressed his excitement about returning to the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi as India gear up to face Afghanistan on October 11 in their second match of the ICC World Cup 2023.
Playing in Delhi holds a special place in the heart of the 34-year-old. It's not just his place of birth as the Arun Jaitley Stadium is where Kohli's cricketing journey commenced.
It all began on February 16, 2006, when a young Kohli made his List A debut in Delhi. He then marked his first First-Class (FC) match at the same venue on November 26, 2006.
In 2019, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) honoured Kohli by unveiling a pavilion at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in his name. Playing in front of a stand bearing his name brings an indescribable feeling to the Indian cricketing great, a sentiment he prefers not to talk about too much.
In a video shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Kohli shared his thoughts as the Indian team readies to face Afghanistan on Wednesday.
"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 for the first time and you got an opportunity,” Kohli stated.
“So it's always special to go back and play at the Arun Jaitley Stadium now. It's a bit awkward for me, playing in front of the pavilion named after me. 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," he added.
It's worth noting that during India's World Cup opener against Australia, Kohli shouldered the responsibility as the home side's top order struggled against the Australian pace attack, losing three wickets for two runs in the initial two overs.
Kohli partnered with KL Rahul, crafting a match-winning 165-run stand and contributed 85 runs in total.