Virat Kohli is regarded by many as a living legend. A phenomenal amount of runs have been gathered by Kohli, who is one of the few cricketers who have mastered all three game styles. He also holds various records. Not to add, Kohli has one of the best records as a skipper, especially in Test matches, where he over seven years took India to new heights. In a nutshell, Kohli is a renowned athlete. Imagine defeating him with the bowl in one of your first matches and being praised for your prowess. A young Indian pacer risked to make it happen, and the rest, as they say, is history, even if others may describe it as the stuff of dreams.

Bharat Arun, the former bowling coach for India, recalled Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli battling in the nets in South Africa before the start of the 2018 Test series in an interview with Cricbuzz for the first episode of “Rise of New India.” However, it was not their first meeting. In their five prior IPL seasons of competition, Bumrah only ever dismissed Kohli once, in the first over he ever bowled to Kohli, back in 2013. But in the T20s, the Indian captain was able to dramatically exceed Bumrah.

At the age of 24, Bumrah joined the nets in Cape Town intending to make his India red-ball debut. He was already a maverick in the white-ball game.

Arun said that India had arrived ten days before the start of the series and participated in a practice match at the center wicket when Kohli and Bumrah squared off. He said that Kohli was so stunned by the fast bowler that he went right up to Ravi Shastri, the India head coach at the time, and admitted that the bowler was the most difficult to face because he found it difficult to decide on his release point.

We departed for South Africa about ten days early. At the middle wicket, we practiced. Virat was impressed with Bumrah. After performing for him, Virat approached Ravi and said, “Ravi bhai, sabse mushkil hai isko khelna.” I can still vividly remember it. Arun said that Ravi was the most challenging bowler to face since it was impossible to predict when he would release the ball. As a result, he was chosen a little later than the other bowlers.

The 60-year-old continued by adding that Bumrah had said after the practice that he wasn’t bowling to his best capacity because he believed the hitters were unfairly treated on the pitch since they were his colleagues. Arun acknowledged being aware of Bumrah’s Test debut in Cape Town at the same time.

Further investigation led us to the conclusion that Bumrah’s speed would make him the ideal candidate for the first Test. I remember him saying the wickets were great and juicy as well. He said, “Sir, I’m not going all out because it’s not fair. These wickets are too helpful. I’m not going all out since they are our main hitters. I thought this was remarkable. Everyone who played Bumrah during the practice session was astounded. It was thus obvious to play Bumrah from the start of the first Test, he said.