‘IT DOESN’T MAT­TER WHAT PEO­PLE SAY, WRITE ABOUT ME’

In­dia skip­per Vi­rat Kohli says ru­mours are “very un­pro­duc­tive”; adds he doesn’t want any “tags” and has no as­pi­ra­tions to be re­mem­bered as “some­one special”

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Prashant Singh prashant.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

That Vi­rat Kohli is one of the bright­est crick­et­ing stars — be­sides a su­per suc­cess­ful cap­tain — in the crick­et­ing world right now would be mak­ing an ob­vi­ous state­ment. “I just want to do my duty on a daily ba­sis to the best of my po­ten­tial,” says the In­dian skip­per. Not just his game, the Delhi lad is now also fo­cused on back­ing a schol­ar­ship pro­gramme for sports­peo­ple through Vi­rat Kohli Foun­da­tion. In an ex­clu­sive chat with HT, he di­vulges de­tails about his ca­reer, pres­sures, cap­taincy and more.

Nowa­days, when­ever you take the field – in­di­vid­u­ally and as a cap­tain – the ex­pec­ta­tions are sky high. Does that ever turn into pres­sure?

Not at all! In fact, I have [high] ex­pec­ta­tions of my­self – to work hard and pre­pare to the best of my po­ten­tial. The ex­pec­ta­tion isn’t of scor­ing a cen­tury ev­ery time I step onto the field be­cause what­ever said and done, peo­ple will say and talk a lot about all the fac­tors. As an in­di­vid­ual, you un­der­stand that it’s not pos­si­ble to go out there and ex­e­cute [ev­ery time] what you want to be­cause there are 10 more peo­ple in your team and you are play­ing against an­other 11. So, it’s not like you’re the ‘lone man’ on the field.

Has it ever been too much to han­dle?

As an in­di­vid­ual, the only thing that’s in my hand is prepa­ra­tion and [hav­ing] a mind­set. I am fully com­mit­ted to that. In fact, I make sure that I am ab­so­lutely giv­ing it my all to pre­pare and think in a cer­tain way. Af­ter that, I just go out and en­joy my­self. For me, it’s about do­ing my duty for the team and the sport that has given me ev­ery­thing.

But you have al­ways been cool about such things…

In fact, it has never mat­tered to me be­cause I have seen that what­ever is said or writ­ten about you is very un­pro­duc­tive. You per­form [badly] a cou­ple of times and those things [good things] go out of the win­dow in no time but they also come back in no time, so it shouldn’t mat­ter to any in­di­vid­ual; it cer­tainly doesn’t mat­ter to me.

Be­ing an In­dia crick­eter, what’s your big­gest high?

I take this [be­ing a crick­eter] as an op­por­tu­nity to go out there and just rep­re­sent my coun­try. I don’t want any tags and I don’t want to be called

some­thing. I also don’t want to be re­mem­bered as some­one [special]. I just want to help my team­mates grow into bet­ter crick­eters along with the team’s jour­ney and ob­vi­ously keep my­self too, in a bet­ter place.

Thanks to your chock­o­block sched­ule, you travel through­out the year. Do you miss Delhi and spend­ing time with your fam­ily?

I have got used to it now. Ob­vi­ously, when you get a few days off, you want to go and meet your fam­ily but that’s about it. There is so much hap­pen­ing all the time that even if you man­age to meet your par­ents or fam­ily for a cou­ple of days, that’s good enough. Ever since we have started trav­el­ling (due to crick­et­ing com­mit­ments), go­ing back home and just be­ing present with them (fam­ily) in one place gives a fa­mil­iar feel­ing.

Be­sides your bat­ting and cap­taincy skills, you have be­come a fit­ness icon too. Is fit­ness pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant thing for a mod­ern­day crick­eter, who plays all the three for­mats of the game?

Of course, that is the most im­por­tant thing be­cause when you play in all three for­mats, you want your game to be at a cer­tain level all the time. You need to work hard, make lifestyle changes be­cause your fit­ness and rou­tines have to be your pri­or­ity. That’s the only way you can at­tain or achieve the stan­dards that you set for your­self. And I am some­one who doesn’t like to take any game eas­ily, and not be in­tense on the field.

You are ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about the game…

I want ev­ery ball to be an event that we win as a team. So, I give my 120% for that. I am nat­u­rally like that so I need to work hard. My game will be noth­ing if I am not in­tense enough on the field and that is one of the main rea­sons why I keep work­ing hard on my fit­ness. But now, it has be­come more of a sec­ond na­ture and my lifestyle. I would rather miss a prac­tice ses­sion but not my train­ing ses­sion. That’s how im­por­tant it has be­come for me.

PHOTO: KUNAL PATIL/HT

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