‘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”
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.