New Delhi: Former captain Virat Kohli, who is all set to return to cricket when India take on Pakistan in the second game of the 2022 Asia Cup on Sunday, opened up about his struggles with mental health and said that he didn't touch his bat for a month.
The star Indian batter has endured a bit of a rough patch of lately and will be looking to find the form of old in the Asia Cup.
"For the first time in 10 years, I didn't touch my bat for a month," said Kohli while speaking to broadcaster Star Sports. "When I sat down and thought about it I was like, 'wow, I haven't touched a bat for like 30 days'. I haven't ever done that in my life.
"I came to the realisation that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit recently. I was convincing myself that no, you had the intensity. But your body is telling you to stop. Your mind is telling me to take a break and step back.
"I understand what Ravi bhai (Ravi Shastri) has mentioned (about taking a break). He's mentioned about the workloads as well, the volume of cricket, how I played 40 or 50% more in the last 10 years than everybody else. It's very easy to ignore all these things.
"I'm looked at as a guy who has been mentally very strong and I am. But everyone has a limit and you need to recognize that limit, otherwise, things can get unhealthy for you.
“This period actually taught me a lot of things that I wasn't allowing to come to surface. When they eventually came up, I embraced it.
"There's much more to life than just your profession. Or when the environment around you is such that everyone looks at only your professional identity, somewhere you start losing perspective as a human being."
Kohli, who'll play his 100th T20I against Pakistan on Sunday, detailed how the hectic schedule affected his love for practice.
"I have always been a guy who follows his heart from day one. I never wanted or 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 away from the game 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 needed to step away from that environment." (UNI)