India skipper Virat Kohli, who is currently making the most of his time off after the hectic 58-day long tour of South Africa, has requested people to let cricketers have their space when they step outside the field.
Kohli’s statement is a fair one considering the craze of cricket among the Indians in their own country or outside India. Besides scrutinizing their on-field performances, the fans barely allow the cricketers to step in their hotel lobby without mobbing them for selfies and autographs. Moreover, the media outlets follow their every move all around the world.
“We cannot walk into a mall and not have cameras on us, or not have news features on us. That is suffocating. That is something I do not like or appreciate. On the field, yes, you criticise people when they have not done well and say what you want. But, when you step off the field, you are not answerable to anyone. You are not a professional cricketer at that time. You are a normal person, trying to have a normal dinner like anyone else. If people think you should have a certain image when you step out, I don’t believe in that. People should let cricketers have their space,” Kohli said in an exclusive interview with THE WEEK.
Virat’s exploits as a batsman and a leader during the South Africa tour have won him plenty of fans all around the world. After being 2-0 down in the Test series, Kohli led the team from the front in the third and final Test at Wanderers to seal a history 63-run victory. From then on, India’s winning juggernaut didn’t stop as they secured both the limited-overs series with utmost ease.
While the Men in Blue clinched the six-match one-day international series with a stunning margin of 5-1, they won the three-match ODI series 2-1. Virat was the highest run-getter in both Test and ODI series from either side. The Indian captain had scored 286 runs at an average of 47.66 on some of the most difficult wickets in three Tests and then followed it up with 558 runs at an average of 186 in 6 ODIs.
When asked how he manages to distinguish his batting and captaincy, Kohli said: “A lot of people say it, but I don’t feel it is too much of a burden. When people ask me, they ask from their points of view. Probably they must be thinking it looks difficult. But, I feel I am privileged to be in the position where I am. I don’t want to take it as a burden.”
“Physical workload is something that everyone needs to monitor. When you go through a highly emotional series, or have done well with the bat, mentally you are spent. You are drained by the end of it. Those things you need to consider. But, I have never felt the pressure of batting and captaincy, because for me, it does not matter what people say or think. My only focus is to connect with myself first, and then with my team. The sync is so strong that I feel no burden because I have total faith in everything around, the system works so well,” he elaborated.
Kohli, who is widely deemed as one of the fittest athletes in the world, also talked about the secret of his remarkable fitness level. The Indian captain revealed that he hasn’t consumed 'Chole Bhature' since last three years.
“It must be three years since I tasted it. I remember the date—August 15, 2015—because that was the only time that I had just one bite of it. My body, however, does not miss it. I am totally honest to what I am doing. My mind does not waver. When I am done playing, I will enjoy all kinds of food. I have ample time to do that. Right now, I am focused on my career and its requirements. I don’t feel like indulging in food that will hamper my progress,” he disclosed.
For someone who emphasizes so much on training, it must be imperative for him to know the line between training and overtraining. No wonder, Virat is fully aware of it.
“An athlete needs to keep in mind that what you are able to do at 24, you will not be able to replicate when you are 31 or 32. You need to understand your body better. Over the course of your career, you need to adapt yourself to certain training regimes to be in prime match fitness. That is something I have learnt, and I have incorporated it in my training regime,” Kohli concluded.