Virat Kohli Opens Up To Fans In A Heart To Heart Conversation With Star Sports

Ahead of the greatest rivalry of India vs Pakistan, Star Sports anchor, Jatin Sapru had a heart to heart conversation with Virat Kohli that was captured in the Star Sports’ special show- Virat: Heart To Heart.

On the verge of another huge milestone of playing his 100th T20 game, Virat reflected on the importance of Asia Cup ahead of the World Cup, his recent hiatus from the game, his mental state and his performances while having a chat with Jatin Sapru. With concern surrounding Virat’s form and with no international hundred for over three years, Virat Kohli opened up about how the break from the sport has helped him understand himself as a human being, which has therein allowed to him to be more true to himself as an athlete as well as a person. Kohli laid his cards on the table as he spoke to the official broadcasters, Star Sports, ahead of the Ind-Pak game.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports special show ‘Virat: Heart To Heart’, Virat Kohli spoke about his memories from the Asia Cup and what an important tournament it has been for him and the team, “It has been a very special tournament personally for me. First Asia Cup I was part of was in 2010, we won the finals against Sri Lanka. Then in 2012 we couldn’t win as well as in 2014, but in 2016 we ended up winning; it was 20-20 after a very long time so Asia Cup for me always has been very memorable and yes the 183 definitely stands out for me personally because that was kind of a revelation for me. 23 and I could play at that level, big game against Pakistan in a big chase and I kind of surprised myself and then from there my belief grew more and more and that was special to me and I remember quite fondly as against Pakistan and against Bangladesh, I got 49 on very tricky pitch so these are kind of games always stay in your memory.

In response to Jatin’s questions on his reflections during the recent break from the sport, Virat opened up about his current state of mind, “Something different this break was that for the first time in 10 years I have not touched my bat since a month. When I sat down and thought about so I was like I haven’t actually touched a bat for 30 days which I haven’t done ever in my life. That’s when I sat down and I came to the realisation that I am kind-off trying to fake my intensity a bit recently. No I can do it competitively and convincing yourself that you have intensity but your body is telling you to stop. Minds telling you to take a break and step back and I understand what Ravi Bhai mentioned he said about workload as well and the value of cricket, how I played 40-50% more than anyone in the last 10 years so it’s easy to ignore these things, you can neglect it because you are fit and working hard on yourself, he’ll be fine he’s fit. I have looked as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am but everyone has a limit and you need to recognise that limit or things can get unhealthy for you so this period has actually thought me a lot of things that I was allowing to come to the surface and when I got that I embraced it. There is much more to life than just your profession or when you create such an environment people look at your identity on the basis of your profession and somewhere you start losing respective as a human being. I have come to an understanding that who am I as a human being, I can’t be this person. Yes people love me and get inspired by me but who am I. So I have strongly recognized that the love and support drives me but that cannot be the representation of who I am. The demand of that position cannot be the representation of who I am. It is a huge blessing, to get the love and support and I’m very grateful and blessed that I have so much love and support but for you as a person as a human being you should be clear with what you want and you should be able to say no and walk away from things that your mind is not allowing you because your mind will try and keep you in a space where it fills with negativity but no try, you can do it, try a bit more but it’s not healthy. I have always been a guy who follows his heart from day one, I was a guy who looked at as brash and I wasn’t mature enough but I was true to myself. I never wanted and tried to be someone else which in this recent phase I have been, I have tried to keep up to the demands and the expectations, not really felt my inner being completely which this phase allowed me to do. I was experiencing that I’m not excited to train, I wasn’t excited to practice and that really disturbed me because this is not who I am and I literally need to step away from that environment. You get blinded when you get involved in such an environment, when you move away you get to know what is really happening. This is what I need to do and this has been an amazing break. I never had a break this long and the first thing I realise that I wake up in the morning I am excited to go to gym, which isn’t a thing like oh I have to keep up with this so that was my first mark. This is my normal practice and this is what everyone should realise and give themselves space to come to this conclusion and not keep running like headless chickens and all over the place. You can tend to get carried away with so many demands now-a-days such schedules piled up again and again. You have seen the results of what happened to Ben Stokes and Trent Boult, Moeen retiring from Test cricket. These aren’t abnormalities but happens and people who are in touch with them know what’s happening in their lives.”

Break different sabse basic pov se to aisi thi ki 10 sal me pahli bar maine 1 mahina bat nahi chua hai. When I sat down and thought about it, I was like I haven’t touched a bat for 30 days which is I haven’t done that ever in my life. That’s when I sat down and I came to the realisation that I kind of try to fake my intensity a bit recently. I can do it competitively and convincing yourself that you have the intensity but your body is telling you to stop. Mind is telling you to take a break and step back and I understand what Ravi Bhai mentioned; he said about workload as well and the value of cricket, how I played 40-50% more than anyone in the last 10 years so it’s easy to ignore these things, neglect aap kar sakte ho ki you are fit and working hard on yourself, he’ll be fine he’s fit. I am looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am, but everyone has a limit and you need to recognise that limit or things can get unhealthy for you so this period actually taught me a lot of things that I was allowing to come to the surface aur jab wo aayi, I embraced it.”

“Yaar there is much more to life than just your profession or jab ek mahaul aisa ban jata hai ki sab log aapko profession ki identity se dekh rahe hai toh somewhere you start losing perspective as a human being. Wo cheez samajh aayi mujhe is bar ki who am I as a human being, I can’t be this person. Yes, people love me and get inspired by me but who am I? So ye cheeze mujhe bahut strong tareeke se recognise hui ki the love and support drives me but that cannot be the representation of who I am. The demand of that position cannot be the representation of who I am . It is a huge blessing, itna pyaar aur support milna and I’m very greatful and blessed that I have so much love and support but aapko as a person as a human being hamesha pata hona chaiye ki apko chahiye kya and you should be able to say no and walkaway from things that your mind is not allowing you because your mind will try and keep you in a space where it fills with negativity but nahi nahi tu kar sakta hai thoda aur thoda aur but it’s not healthy. I have always been a guy who follows his heart from day 1. I was a guy who was looked at as brash and I wasn’t mature enough but I was true to myself. I never wanted and tried to be someone else which in this recent phase I have been, I have tried to keep up to the demands and the expectations, not really felt my inner being completely which this phase allowed me to do. I was experiencing that I’m not excited to train, I wasn’t excited to practice and that really disturbed me because this is not who I am and I literally need to step away from that environment. Jab aap is environmenl mein involve hote ho to apko dikhta nahi hai kuch, jab aap hat te ho to apko dikhta hai ki ye ho raha tha. Okay, this is what I need to do and this has been an amazing break. I never had this long break and the first thing I realised that I woke up in the morning and was excited to go to gym, which isn’t a thing like oh I have to keep up with this so that was my first mark. This is my normal practice and this is what everyone should realise and give themselves space to come to this conclusion and not keep running like headless chickens and all over the place. You can tend to get carried away with so much demands now a days such schedules get piled up again and again. You have seen the results of what happened to Ben Stokes and Trent boult, Moeen retiring from test cricket. These aren’t abnormalities but happen and people who are in touch with them know what’s happening in their lives.”

When asked by Jatin to dig deeper into what he meant by ‘faking the intensity’, he said, “I’m feeling light now for sure and it wasn’t just about the workload of cricket, many other factors on the outside as well which contribute to me going into that. Bahut saari cheeze seekhne ko milti hai aap jin cheezo ko ek certain lens se dekh rahe hote ho because aap passion se khel rahe ho aap dil se khel rahe ho, bahar cheeze waise perceive nahi ho rahi hai aur log un cheezon ki value ko nahi samajhte hai aur apko us lens se nahi dekhte hai to wo sab kafi apko ek reality check deti hai ki this is how things are and you can’t expect everyone to think and be like you so wo cheeze bhi mujhe realise hui aur intensity as you said mujhe pata hi ni tha ki mai fake kar raha hoo, mai apne aap ko competitiveness ke zone me push kar raha tha.. I am a person who wakes up and feels like okay let’s see what the day has for me and be part of everything I’m doing through the day, includes absolute present involvement and that’s who I have always been. People ask me about how do you do this on the field and how do you carry on with so much intensity? I just tell them I love playing the game and I love the fact that I have so much to contribute to every ball and I would give every inch of my energy on the field and for me it never felt abnormal. Lot of people on the outside watched me and even within the team they asked me how do you keep up with it and I just say simple thing- I want to make my team win at any cost and if that means that I’m gasping for breath when I walk on field so that’s be it.”

“Naturally nahi ho raha tha aur mujhe push karna pad raha tha and I didn’t know it, I became this ideal kind off a sportsperson to look up. I get so grateful of the fact that so many people get inspired of me but you can’t stop being a human being because of that. I understand why people love you and support you, it’s because you were yourself always and even in these moments I’m not shy to admit that I was feeling mentally down and this is a very normal thing to feel and I’m a human at the end of the day and that should be a thing or a space for people to say if he can experience this, relax it’s normal to feel this way. It’s not abnormal, talk about it and discuss with people, no one will think you are weak and you will get help from people you never imagined but we don’t speak because we are hesitant and we don’t want to be looked as mentally weak. Trust me, faking to be strong is far worse and that’s something that I’m not feeling any shame for that I was feeling mentally week”, he concluded.

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