India will now take on New Zealand in the first semi-finals of ICC World Cup at Old Trafford. Interestingly, the clash between India and New Zealand shows similarities with the under-19 World Cup semi-finals in 2008, where it was the same two teams that faced against each other.
The current captains of both the teams Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson made the match in Under-19 World Cup and Virat & Co won by 3 Wickets in semi-finals held at Malaysia. They were the Captains of their side then and are Captains of their side now. Both the captains could never have imagined leading their sides in another World Cup semi-finals, this time the senior one.
But one thing that unites them is the mutual respect that champions have for each other as they fondly recollected their journey.
“It’s not even 2008, I remember in 2007 we went to New Zealand and we were playing an Under-19 Test match and he played a shot off one of our fast bowlers, who was quick, off the back foot.” – Kohli remembers.
“I remember standing in slips and telling guys standing at slip, ‘I have never seen anyone play a shot like that’. He was special, along with a couple more guys, who didn’t make it surprisingly. We always knew he has the special ability to go all the way and now he’s controlling the tempo of the game for New Zealand every game that he plays and he’s contributing so well. And he’s a lovely guy. We get along very well.” – Kohli said.
Williamson on his part felt that he always knew Kohli as destined for success.
“He was a formidable player, growing up — that seems odd to say because we were at the same age playing against each other on a number of occasions and then to go into international cricket at a youngish age, then IPL and these different sorts of things. So it’s obviously been a pleasure watching Virat play and evolve into the superstar that he is.” – Williamson said.
Remembering the dismissal of Williamson in the World Cup semi-finals Virat laughs at that.
“I got Kane’s wicket? Did I? I don’t know if that can happen again now,” Kohli said as everyone started laughing.
Williamson reaction was still more humorous.
“Oh dear. Tell me how (laughter). He used to be an all-rounder I think back in the day, but hasn’t bowled as much recently” – Williamson said.
Kohli said he will surely make Kane remember his dismissal.
“Actually, I’ll remind Kane also. I am sure he remembers, when we meet tomorrow I’m going to remind him. It is quite a nice thing to realize that we are captaining our respective nations again in a senior World Cup from Under-19.”- Kohli said.
Williamson though hasn’t put much into that subject but certainly finds it cool.
“Yeah, I actually hadn’t thought about that at all so I guess that kind of cool, isn’t it that a few years later, we are here again, perhaps on a slightly different stage, but pretty special and a lot of respects to being able to lead your country out in a semi-final on the biggest stage” – Williamson said.