Former India captain Virat Kohli opened up on dealing with the pressures of the last six-odd months, the criticisms he faced and suggestions that he received at the lack of runs and his perspective of it as well. After last year’s T20 World Cup, Kohli decided to step down from T20I captaincy and then Rohit Sharma took over the leadership in both the white-ball formats while Kohli proceeded to quit the Test leadership too after the tour of South Africa where the hosts won the series 2-1 as well.
However, Virat Kohli was going through a lean patch and recently took a month-long break from cricket, which he later admitted that he was a much-needed mental health issue heading to the Asia Cup. He also revealed how only MS Dhoni only messaged him after the incident.
“One thing I can tell you is when I gave up Test captaincy, I got a message from only one person who I’ve played with before – MS Dhoni,” Virat Kohli said in the post-match press conference on Sunday. “A lot of people have my number and a lot of people give suggestions on TV, but among people who have my number, I didn’t get a message from anyone else.
“When there’s respect and a connection with someone, when it’s genuine, it looks like this. Because there’s security at both ends. Neither was I insecure with him [Dhoni] nor was he insecure with me. All I can say is if I want to tell someone something I’ll reach out individually, if the help is needed. If you give a suggestion in front of the whole world, it holds no value for me. If it is something that will improve me then you can do it one-on-one also,” Kohli added.
He continued: “I’ve played for 14 years, it doesn’t happen by chance. My job is to work hard on my game, something that I am always keen to do for the team and something that I continue to do. Everyone’s doing their job eventually, our job is to play the game, work hard, give our 120% and I’ve said it in the past that as long as I am doing that and the team has faith in that, what happens in the change room is the only thing that matters to us, and to me personally. People have their opinions and that’s absolutely fine but that doesn’t change my happiness as a person. I’ve taken some time away, put things in perspective. It’s given me kind of a relaxation that this is not the be-all and end-all of life. I need to enjoy the game, I can’t put so much pressure of expectation on myself, that I am not able to express myself. That is not why I started playing this game.”
However, Virat Kohli has also said that he was able to ‘find that excitement back’ on his return for the Asia Cup and applauded the current team environment as well.
“I was able to find that excitement back. And when I came here, the environment was very welcoming, the camaraderie with the boys is amazing, the environment in the team is amazing. I am absolutely loving playing at the moment again and I am feeling good with the way I am batting,” Virat Kohli concluded.