Virat Kohli is certain that he will be able to handle the rigours of international cricket as he feels confident enough to play all three formats for at least three more years. Two days before India’s first Test against New Zealand in Wellington, Kohli was asked whether he plans on quitting at least one format after the 2021 T20 World Cup in India considering better world load management, but the skipper said it’s a question he would like to address not before the end of 2023. Also Read - India vs England, Live Score, 4th Test at Motera, Day 2: Jack Leach Removes Cheteshwar Pujara on 17; IND Lose Their Second Wicket
“My mindset is on the bigger picture as I prepare myself for a rigorous three years from now and after that we might have a different conversation,” Kohli said. “It’s not a conversation you can hide away from in any manner. It is around eight years now that I have been playing 300 days a year, which includes travelling and practice sessions. And intensity is right up there all the time. It does take a toll on you.” Also Read - IPL: Shane Watson Opens up on Time at RCB And CSK, Claims Playing With Virat Kohli One of His Career Highlights
Captain of all three formats, Kohli keeps taking breaks in between to manage his workload better. He was rested from the Asia Cup 2018 before opting to sit out of New Zealand T20Is last year along with many more such breaks. Besides, Kohli even skipped the home bilateral series against Sri Lanka earlier last month and is expected to be given breathers in between a hectic cricketing calendar. Also Read - India vs England, 4th Test: Axar, Ashwin Share Seven Wickets to Give Hosts The Upper Hand
“It’s not that the players are not thinking about it all the time. We do choose to take lot more breaks individually even though the schedule might not allow you to. Especially from guys, who play all the formats,” he said.
“It’s not easy being captain, having that intensity in the practice sessions. It does take a toll on you. Periodic breaks seem to work pretty okay for me. At a time where the body can’t take anymore, maybe when I am 34 or 35, we will have a different conversation. For the next two to three years I have no issues at all.”
Kohli explained how timing will remain crucial if and when he decides to walk away to help ensure a smooth transition. About seven years ago, with Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, the emergence of Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara took place, and together, they went on to form India’s current middle order. Kohli wants the same transition for the next generation of Indian cricketers.
“I can keep going on with the same intensity and also understand that the team wants a lot of my contribution in the next two to three years, so that I can ease into another transition that we faced five-six years ago,” the skipper added.