Former Indian Premier League COO Sundar Raman has revealed why Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) picked southpaw pacer Pradeep Sangwan over Virat Kohli. Kohli had led the Under-19 Indian team to World Cup glory in 2008 in Malaysia just a few months before the IPL auction.
Kohli had impressed in the World Cup as he had scored 235 runs in six matches at an average of 47 and ended as the third highest run-getter of the tournament. On the other hand, Pradeep Sangwan scalped eight wickets in six matches of the World Cup at an average of 20.75.
However, as Daredevils had already picked batsmen like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and AB de Villiers, they wanted to have a bowler in their side. Thus, they decided to go with Pradeep Sangwan.
Raman revealed that they had set a separate draft for the Under-19 players and Kohli was not the first player to be picked in the draft but it was Pradeep Sangwan. As we know, Royal Challengers Bangalore then went to pick Virat Kohli in the auction for $50,000.
“Interestingly, that was also the year India had won the U-19 World Cup, just a month before the auction. They were captained by Virat Kohli and we decided to keep a separate draft for the U-19 players a few days after the auction. Surprise, surprise! Virat Kohli was not the first player to be picked in the draft,” Raman told Gaurav Kapur on the podcast ‘22 Yarns’.
“Delhi passed on him, actually, and picked Pradeep Sangwan instead, because they said they didn’t need another batsman. And they didn’t actually, they had Virender Sehwag and AB de Villiers. They were right in their thinking, but RCB picked him up and the rest, as they say, is history,” he added.
As it turned out, Kohli didn’t have a great start to the IPL as he could only gather 165 in the 13 matches of maiden IPL season at an average of 15. However, he was able to turn the tide in the coming seasons. On the other hand, Sangwan also didn’t have a great IPL start as he scalped five wickets in seven matches he played for Delhi.
As they say the rest is history. Virat Kohli is now the highest run-getter in the IPL history as he has scored 5412 runs in 177 IPL matches at an average of 37.85 and strike rate of 131.61. Kohli has time and again said that he can not even think about playing for any other franchise in the IPL apart from Royal Challengers Bangalore.