India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday revealed the story behind his nickname ‘cheeku’. Speaking to former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen in an Instagram Live chat session, Kohli said that he was given the name by his former coach when he was young and playing first-class for Delhi.
“I got my name from the coach I had when I was playing Ranji cricket team. I used to have big cheeks back then. In 2007, I thought I am losing hair. So I got my hair cut really short. I had big ears. I looked like a clown,” Kohli recalled when Pietersen asked him about his nickname.
“We used to have this comic book Champak at that time. In which there was a character ‘Cheeku the rabbit’. So my coach used to call me Cheeku the rabbit. From there the name was picked up and now it has gone everywhere,” Kohli said.
He further added that the name was made famous in cricket by MS Dhoni, who kept calling him Cheeku from behind the stumps.”Cheeku came from… MS has made my name famous from behind the stumps. It was caught on the mic-stumps and then it got everywhere,” Kohli said.
He further added that no one calls him ‘Virat’ anymore. “Cheeku is the name which is used for kids in an Indian locality. Whenever I used to go out on the streets, people used to call me from behind, ‘Oye cheeku, oye cheeku’. Now, nobody calls me ‘Virat’ anymore. It’s either ‘Cheeku’ or ‘Kohli’,” he further said.
Kohli has been Pietersen’s biggest guest so far after the former England cricketer decided to interview cricketers around the globe amid lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic. Previously South Africa’s Dale Steyn, Pakistan’s Amed Shahzad and India limited-overs vice captain were invited KP’s Instagram live.