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The Delhi team was playing a Ranji Trophy match in Mumbai. Virat has not even played a total of 10 first-class matches. He was a part of set-up that included players he had looked up to — (Virender) Sehwag, (Gautam) Gambhir, (Rajat) Bhatia and (Mithun) Manhas. He was more than happy to be sharing dressing room with them. One evening, he returned to the hotel with his hair nicely cropped. He has spotted a fancy hair salon close by and given himself a new look. ‘How is it?’ he asked excitedly as he ran into a couple of younger colleagues. ‘Not bad, you look like a Chikoo (Sapodilla),’ joked Ajit Chowdhary, the assistant coach looking from a distance.
The name struck. Chickoo. Virat didn’t mind at all.
‘He was still trying to find his feet in the big world of domestic cricket circuit. He liked it when he got attention. I have not known a more competitive youngster. He was just hungry for more — runs and attention,’ said Chowdhary, the only person other than coach Rajkumar Sharma to have admonished Virat.