Virat Kohli says it was the absence of fear or respect for him in the opposition’s eye that has forced him to change his work ethic and become the “impact player” that he is today.
While most aspects of his life are well-documented, an interview of him with Emmy winning journalist Graham Bensinger is aimed at providing a peek into the life of India’s most popular and active sportsperson to a more global audience. Kohli, who is the world’s premier batsman, spoke about how he worked on his fitness that lifted his game after coming back from the Australian tour in 2012.
“(There was a time) When I walked in to bat, there wasn’t any fear or respect in opposition corner,” Kohli said in a sports web-show, ‘In Depth with Graham Bensinger’. “I didn’t want to walk into ground thinking that opposition feels that this guy is a pushover, who is going to do no damage. Just didn’t want to be another player as I wanted to make an impact. I wanted that when I walk in, the teams should think that we need to get this guy out or else we will lose the game. And if I don’t want to be that guy, then there is something wrong in my head,” the Indian captain said.
He spoke about how fitness has become an integral part of his life and how it helped him recover quickly, even as the Indian team crisscrossed the United Kingdom during a six-week World Cup campaign. “During World Cup, every game my energy level was 120 percent. My recovery was so fast that average distance I covered in a game was 15 kms. I would come back, do my recovery treatments and travel to another city and soon I was ready to train again. There was so much energy that I could do gym sessions and play 10 games in such a short span of time (35 days). Played each game at high intensity and never felt like this before. There was no stiffness in my body,” said Kohli.
While he considers his idol Sachin Tendulkar’s skills as a cricketer in a different league, his is a case of pure hard work. “I knew I wasn’t the most skilled sportsperson when I came in but only constant thing has been working on myself. If Indian team has to be the best in the world, it needs to go about in a certain manner.”
“When we came back from Australia in 2012, I saw a gap (between us and Australia). I realised, if we don’t change the way we are playing, training or eating, we can’t compete with best in the world. No point in competing if you don’t want to be the best. I wanted to be the best version of myself and then based everything around that vision, my approach to the game changed,” he said.