Kohli said he had heard Shastri’s words and agreed that a break was a “healthy” option for him, especially as he’s been on the cricket assembly line for over a decade, including a significant amount of time as a captain.
“It’s not a lot of people who mentioned it (taking a break),” Kohli . told me star sport in an interview. “There is exactly one person who has mentioned it and that is Ravi bhai and that’s because for the past six to seven years he’s seen up close the reality of the situation I found myself in. The amount of cricket I’ve played and the ups and downs and the toll it takes on you to play three formats of the game plus the IPL for 10-11 years non-stop with the seven years captaincy in between… “
Kohli said a break, if he took that option, could give him a “mental reset” needed to perform at the highest level. “It’s definitely something you have to consider because you don’t want to do something you’re not 100% part of and that’s what I’ve always believed in my life. So to take a break and when you take a break is of course something I have to appeal to but it is only a healthy decision for everyone to take some time off and rejuvenate yourself mentally and physically not so much physically as physical fitness keeps you up over the course of the whole playing cricket for a while, but it’s kind of a mental reset that you need, and you want to be excited for what you’re doing, you don’t want to feel like you’ve forced yourself into a situation.
“So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s very healthy to think about, especially with the amount of cricket we play today and the amount of cricket I’ve played in the last 10-11 years when I matter of creating a balance and finding the balance that is right for you as an individual to move forward and I will definitely discuss this with all involved – Rahul bhaithe Indian team management, everyone to find out what is best for myself and certainly for the team.”
“I want India to win the Asian Cup and the World Cup, that’s the motivation”
Kohli on his goals after the ongoing IPL
Kohli said his struggles in the IPL aren’t the same as in 2014 – when his technique was revealed by James Anderson during the England tour, which he ended up with an average of 13.40 in 10 innings – as there is no pattern for his layoffs. He has been caught seven times in different positions, bowled twice, lbw once and even run out twice. All that tells a story is his low scores: he’s been rejected six times for under 10 runs so far, including three golden ducks.
“To be honest, I don’t want to leave this phase behind me,” Kohli said. “What happened in England was a pattern, so something I could work on, something I had to overcome. Right now there’s nothing you can say there’s a problem here. The process because I know I’m hitting well and in moments when i start to feel that rhythm i know i’m hitting good which wasn’t the case in england [where] I didn’t feel like I was hitting well at all. So I had to work hard on one thing that I could be exposed to over and over and overcome. At the moment that is not the case. I know where my game is and you can’t get that far in your international career without having the ability to counter the situations and circumstances and counter different types of bowling.
“So this phase is the easier phase for me to process, but I don’t want to put this behind me. I want to learn from it and understand the core values I have as an athlete and as a person. As long as I tick those boxes… I know these are ups and downs and when i get out of this phase i know how consistent i can be i know how motivated i will be once the scores start coming in sure it’s one after the other i know i that drive in me to go back to back, which motivates me more, like I said by contributing to my team’s cause and making my team win, so these things drive me and propell me much more than the setbacks I have.
“I’m very aware of what’s going on and I’m absolutely, like I said, at ease with myself. And very, very confident that I’m going to be more and more balanced as a human being. Ultimately, that’s what I want to get out of all these experiences because there’s so much life that we don’t understand the value, the real value of finding this balance.
“I’m not in a position where I desperately want to prove anything to anyone. To me God has been so kind and I’m only grateful for all that has been blessed me over the years. So much love I get from people, so many wishes. It show me another side of things I probably haven’t experienced first hand before because I was so lost in what I was doing all the time So I feel more grateful and grounded with the fact that I I’ve been able to have all these experiences as a normal person.”
“I care much more about my own well-being than I would have done in the past”
Kohli also stressed that his performance on the pitch will not bog him down as he has come to value his “well-being” more.
“My experiences are sacred to me – no matter what I’ve been through at this stage or in the past. One thing I can vouch for is that I’ve never appreciated myself as a person again. Because I now experience that there’s a great sense of identity that created for you by the world, which is much more different, so far away from the reality of you as a human being So I now find myself valuing myself and caring for my own well-being- being much more than I would have in the past And actually, contrary to many beliefs or many perceptions, as I said on the outside, I am actually in the happiest phase of my life.
“I don’t find self-esteem or worth in what I do on the pitch. I’m way past that phase. This is a phase of evolution for me. Not to say I don’t have the same drive, my drive will never spoil. The day that my drive goes away I will not play this game but to understand that some things are not controllable the only controlables you have are the things you can work towards and that is hard work on the field and also in life And from that point of view, I feel more balanced than I’ve ever been.
“And I’m happy with who I am and how I live my life. When I come to appreciate myself with my [on-field] achievements, then these achievements won’t be possible after a phase where I stop playing the game anyway, so where do I get that validation? So I’ve come to appreciate myself a lot more as a person and I don’t find any source of encouragement or disappointment from what’s happening on the pitch. In the heat of the moment, in that moment, because you are a competitive athlete and it is your profession, it is something you prepare very well for, you feel disappointed when you cannot contribute so much to the cause of the team as much as you want.
†[But] this isn’t about me. This is about the fact that I haven’t contributed as much to my team’s cause as I would have liked or am proud of.”
Despite the turbulent form, Kohli found time to joke about his battle during a separate talk on star sport with former India teammate Harbhajan Singh. “Jos Buttler came up to me, after the Rajasthan Royals game, and said ‘I want to ask you something’, and I told him you’re wearing the orange cap. What do you want to ask me, I can’t make walks – and we laughed about it,” Kohli told Harbhajan.
Asked by Harbhajan what his goals were after the IPL, Kohli said he was aiming for India to win two major titles this year.
“I want India to win the Asian Cup and the [T20] World Cup; that’s the motivation,” he said. “I need to move forward to keep the balance, get some rest, some rejuvenation, once I’m in the mindset there’s no looking back and [it’s] lots of fun. My main goal is to help India win the Asian Cup and the World Cup and for that I am ready to do everything for the team.”