Virat Kohli – ‘I found out I’ve been trying to fake my intensity a bit lately’

Virat Kohli is candid about his recent struggles to deal with expectations, workload and mental fatigue. India’s first Asia Cup match against Pakistan on August 28 marks Kohli’s return to international cricket after a 42-day hiatus following the end of the England tour in July.

“This is the first time in ten years that I haven’t touched the bat in a whole month,” Kohli told Star Sports during an interview with Jatin Sapru. “When I sat down and thought about it, I felt like I hadn’t touched a bat for 30 days, which I’ve never done in my life. Then I came to realize that I was sort of trying to reduce my intensity lately.” kinda fake “No I can do it”… be competitive and convince yourself you have intensity but your body is telling you to stop The mind is telling you to just take a break and take a step back … You can neglect it by saying that you are fit, that you are working hard on yourself and that you will be fine because you are mentally fit.

“I’ve been seen as a man who is mentally very strong, and I am, but everyone has a limit, and you have to recognize that limit, otherwise it can become unhealthy for you. So this period has actually taught me a lot of things that I didn’t let it come to the surface. When they did, I embraced it. yaarThere is much more to life than just your profession. And if the environment around you is such that everyone looks at you through your professional identity, somewhere as a person you start to lose perspective.”

On Sunday, Kohli will play his 100th T20 international, becoming only the second cricketer after New Zealand’s Ross Taylor to play 100 matches in every format of the game – an indication of the workload he’s carried since his 2008 debut. And since 2020 , no other Indian cricketer has played more internationals than Kohlic’s 62 matches.

Kohli said the demands of his schedule had affected his love of training, something that “worried” him and made him realize that he had to “get away” for a while. “I have always been a man who followed his heart from day one … I have never wanted to be or try to be anyone else, which I have been in this recent phase. I have tried to meet the demands and expectations, not really felt my inner being completely, which this phase [away from the game] let me do it. I felt that I wasn’t excited to train, I wasn’t excited to practice, and that really bothered me because this isn’t who I am, and I literally had to get out of that environment.”

Kohli said taking this break helped him rediscover his excitement for training and cricket. “When you’re in such an environment, you can’t see anything. When you remove yourself there, you realize what happened… This was a great break. I’ve never had such a long break, and the first what I realized was getting up in the morning excited to go to the gym, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I have to keep up with this.’ So that was my first grade.

“You can get carried away with so many demands these days… You’ve seen the results of what happened to Ben Stokes and Trent Boult… Moeen [Ali] withdraw from Test cricket. These are not deviations; it’s very normal for people who are in touch with themselves and know what they want in life.”

As Kohli prepares for his comeback, his form will be re-examined. He hasn’t scored an international century since November 2019 and his T20 form hasn’t been great either. Kohli has played only four T20 internationals since the World Cup last year, scoring just 341 runs from 16 innings for RCB in IPL 2022 with a strike rate of 116. While elaborating on his thinking, Kohli said he had tried to push himself “into a zone of competitiveness”. . because it “didn’t come naturally” and that he felt better after the break.

“I have been seen as a man who is mentally very strong, and I am, but everyone has a limit, and you have to recognize that limit, otherwise it can become unhealthy for you”

Virat Kohlic

“I definitely feel light now, and it wasn’t just about the workload of cricket,” Kohli said. “There were also many other factors on the outside that contributed to my entering that space.

“You learn a lot of things. Things you look at from a certain lens because you play with passion, with your heart, but on the outside people don’t see it that way and they don’t understand the value of those things. They don’t look at you from that lens That gives you a reality check that this is how things are and you can’t expect everyone to think and be like you I have to realize that too.

“And intensity, like you said, I didn’t even realize I was pretending. I was trying to push myself into a zone of competitiveness. But it didn’t come naturally to me. I’m someone who wakes up and feels like, ‘Okay, let’s see what the day has in store for me,” and be a part of everything I do throughout the day with absolute presence, engagement and happiness. And that’s who I’ve always been.

“People ask me a lot about how I do this on the pitch and how I carry on with such intensity. I just tell them I love playing the game and I love that I can contribute so much every day. inches of my energy on the pitch and it never felt abnormal to me. A lot of people looking at me from the outside, and even within the team, asked me how I could keep up? And I’m just saying one thing simple: I want let my team win at all costs and if that means gasping for breath when I walk off the field, so be it.

“It didn’t happen naturally. I had to push myself, but I didn’t know because I had become such an ideal athlete to look up to. I’m very grateful for the fact that so many people are inspired by me, but that’s why I can’t stop you from being human You also need to understand why people love and support you It’s because you were always yourself and even in these moments I’m not shy to admit I felt mentally down and this is very normal to feel.

“I mean, I’m a human at the end of the day and that should be a thing or a space for people to say, ‘Wait a minute, if he can get through this, if he can experience the same, then relax. it’s normal to feel this way, it’s not abnormal.’ Talk about it, discuss it with people.

No one will think you are weak, people will feel sorry for you and you will get help from resources you couldn’t even imagine. But we don’t speak because we hesitate. We don’t want to be seen as mentally weak or weak people. Trust me, pretending to be strong is much worse than admitting you’re weak. And I’m not ashamed to say that I used to be feeling mentally weak.”

Watch live coverage of the 2022 Asia Cup every day from 6:00 PM IST on Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar.

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