In an interview to Star Sports, Kohli said: “For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t touch my bat for a month. I came to realize that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit recently,” Kohli stunned the cricketing world early on Saturday morning. “I was convincing myself that “no, you had the intensity’. But your body was telling you to stop. The mind was telling me to take a break and step back.”
The revelation has come at a time when questions have been raised on marquee players frequently asking for breaks. Sources told TOI that the BCCI and selectors were reluctant to rest Kohli during last month’s tour of West Indies as they wanted to zero down on a settled team for the T20 World Cup soon. “Virat not playing meant there is very little form and time to take a call on his position in the team. He pleaded with the team management and assured that he wouldn’t miss any game starting with the Asia Cup,” a source told TOI.
“I’m looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am. But everyone has a limit and you need to recognize that limit, otherwise things can get unhealthy for you. This period taught me a lot of things that I wasn’t allowing to come to surface. When they eventually came up, I embraced it,” Kohli said in the interview.
The team management has struggled to settle down on a batting line-up due to the uncertainty surrounding Kohli. People have gone up and down the batting order faster than elevators. Kohli’s presence here in Dubai is a chance for captain Rohit Sharma to get the right combination. “He looked in great touch. Working hard. Not thinking too much. Not made extraordinary changes. He looks fresh,” Rohit informed on Saturday.
Kohli has always been vocal about players’ mental health and how the authorities need to fix the choc-a-bloc calendars. On Saturday, he again brought mental health to surface.
India’s all-format captain Rohit claimed Kohli’s case is not one in isolation. Discussing the mental health of players has been a core part of preparations. “We do talk about these things a lot. When Covid-19 struck, this has been difficult for a lot of players, not just Virat,” Rohit told the media on Saturday.
“A lot of players have gone through hard times mentally, staying in bubbles, not being able to go out of hotels and there is nothing wrong about it. If a player has his view on that (mental health), we talk about that in our group. . . talk about being mentally fresh and how we can keep the players fresh. Mental health is important,” he added.
Up close and personal with @imVkohli!Coming back from a break, Virat Kohli speaks about the introspection, the re… https://t.co/PGp4TBoejG
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1661571000000
Rohit didn’t miss out on subtly pleading for some leniency from the crammed schedules. “That is also the reason why spacing out games and looking at workload has become so important,” the skipper stressed.