India skipper Virat Kohli is a classic illustration of how perseverance and complete focus can bring recognition and accomplishment. Considering his family background, Kohli comes from a middle-class Punjabi family in Delhi and learned the cricketing skills under Rajkumar Sharma in West Delhi Cricket Academy.
In a recent interview with The Mint, Virat Kohli got candid about all things related to his life. He spoke about his cricketing journey from a 17-year-old freak to the 28-year-old captain of Indian Cricket Team. How he has softened down from a furious youngster to a calm and collective captain of the team and how his companion, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma has helped him in doing so.
Here are some notable excerpts from the interview:
Talking about his purple patch of 2016, Virat said, “2016 was the breakthrough phase for me when I felt that I was really in control of everything I was doing on the field, that I could do what I wanted to do on it, that all my technique and the little changes that I made were working for me. In fact, it was a revelation for me as well, but I know I’m still in that zone.”
When asked about any superstitions he has, Kohli replied, “I used to have very set ways, lots of superstitions—a particular wristband, or a particular pair of gloves, or a particular bat that I always needed to have. Now I have none of those. There is no routine anymore. I do what I feel like doing on the day (of a match). If I feel like reading a book, I will read a book. If I feel like taking a nap, I will take a nap on the way to the game. Or I will listen to a song I want to listen to at that time. I don’t think, ‘Oh I was feeling good that day by doing this and scored a century, and that is what I must do now and feel good about it.’ You just end up feeling frustrated.”
Virat Kohli marked the aggressiveness he has as a motivator, something that helps him going when the pressure builds up. He said,” I feel you have to be competitive no matter what. If you are not competitive in your body language and energy, there’s no point playing the sport and representing your country.”
Kohli also ranked Australia as his preferred team, since they match his assault with aggression, he said, “I like playing against Australia because it’s very hard for them to stay calm. I don’t mind an argument on the field and it really excites me and brings the best out of me and they don’t seem to be learning the lesson.”
He further added, “I feel you have to be competitive no matter what. If you are not competitive in your body language and energy, there’s no point playing the sport and representing your country.”
Though Kohli acknowledges that being with his companion Anushka Sharma has softened him down. He said, ”You obviously have to learn from your partner, right?”, he added, “I have always been fond of animals, but I never had the compassion and love that I feel now, and that’s mainly because of Anushka. She has changed the way I see these things, and the way I think about animals; now I’ve genuinely started feeling this deep love for them.”
Kohli asserted that he is pleased to be at a position where he can articulate about things and people will listen to him and follow what he says. He said that he will talk out about subjects he feels completely associated with and if he can change even five people, he will feel his work is done.
Virat also got sentimental and sensitive talking about his father Prem Kohli, mother Saroj and siblings Bhavana and Vikash.
Kohli said, “My father, my brother, my mum… they took me to every single game, every single practice. They would come and watch me play everywhere, in all kinds of places. At one time, I used to practice seven days a week, and my father or my brother would always be there at every session, and they did this till I was grown up enough to go alone.”
Indian skipper also remembered the now famous ‘incident’, when he was playing for Delhi in a Ranji Trophy game in 2006 and went home not out on 40. Sadly, his father expired to a heart attack that night and Kohli resumed the innings in the morning after taking care of the funeral customs.
Speaking of the moment, the flamboyant batsman said, “Yes, I did make up my mind then that I have to make a career out of cricket, which means I have to play for my country, my father had such a massive role to play in me being a cricketer, so it became a sort of madness for me. When you lose a parent you do think, ‘What am I going to fall back on?’ I wasn’t conscious of it then. Then, for me, it was just about playing cricket. But now I do think there was that aspect of not having a choice.”
Kohli concluded by talking about his plans as an Indian skipper, he said, “The plan is basic. To try and win series and not just one odd Test here and there. We know it’s going to be tough but we are going to enjoy being uncomfortable and embrace it totally.”
Quick insights of Virat
■ Toughest bowler you have faced in the nets
■ Toughest PlayStation competitor
■ Favorite way to relax on tour
Room service and movies—so I can eat in bed while watching a movie.
■ Greatest fear
■ A place no one recognized you: