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Kohli opens up on RCB's fate, England nightmare, best batting partner and fitness


In an informal chat with Kevin Pietersen, Indian captain Virat Kohli was candid about RCB's chances of winning an IPL title, paradigm shift in Team India's fitness and the players he loves batting with the most.

Virat Kohli may not be going through the best of forms currently, but he won't be too fussed about that. The Indian skipper experienced the nadir of his career when he was still quite young to red ball cricket. Kohli managed only 134 runs in 10 Test innings in England as James Anderson had his number throughout the series.

"The lowest point in my career was the England tour in 2014 where that is one phase where I felt like, you know, when as a batsman you know you are going to get out in the morning when you wake up," Kohli told Pietersen. "That was the time I felt like that: that there is no chance I am getting runs. And still to get out of bed and just get dressed for the game and to go out there and go through that, knowing that you will fail was something that ate me up. It just demolished me completely. And I promised myself I am never going to allow myself to feel like ever again in life."

Kohli now sees it an an opportunity for young cricketers to learn. "And that happened, for all the younger guys listening, because I was too focused on doing well from a personal point of view. I wanted to get runs. I could never think of what does the team want me to do in this situation. I just got too engulfed with England tour - if I perform here, Test cricket, in my mind I'm going to feel established and all that crap on the outside, which is not important at all. It just ate me up. I just kept going into a downward spiral and I just couldn't get out of it. Horrible."

When asked about which players he loves batting with the most, M.S. Dhoni and AB de Villiers were his picks. "I enjoy batting with those who can run fast with me. So it has to be MS when we play for India together and AB when we play in the IPL for RCB. We don't even talk while we are batting," Kohli said during an Instagram live hosted by Pietersen.

Kohli's knack of pinching singles comes from his top-notch fitness. He, like most other Indian internationals, commands chiselled bodies and athleticism that is par excellence. However, it wasn't always that way.

Notorious for their ordinary fielding skills, teams from the sub-continent were never rated for their fielding skills till a few years back. This came from their natural built and unwillingness to dive. Grounds in the subcontinent in the century past were so irregular and stony at places that you can't fault the players actually. This did not allow them to develop their athletic skills, and hence the unwillingness.

But Kohli switched from a devourer of butter chicken to a strict vegetarian and results have been there to see for everyone.

"I wasn't a vegetarian till 2018. When we actually came to England, I left eating meat just before the Test series started. It's so much better than being on meat. Being vegetarian now made me feel, honestly I felt like why didn't I do it before? I should have done it two-three years earlier, to be honest. It's completely changed everything - you start feeling better, you start thinking better, your body is lighter, you are more positive, you have energy to do more, so, overall it's just been an amazing, amazing change.

"I was lucky to be in the centre of transition. I got to see what we were lacking and what the world was doing and we needed to catch up. So I was lucky to play with players who were on the same page," Kohli said.

Talking about the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, of which he is captain of, he was optimistic about the chances of RCB winning their maiden title.

"Right from 2009-10 we had amazing fun at RCB. We hit off well from Day 1. You came in as the big KP a star. We had a gun team with Kallis, Boucher, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid. We have reached three finals but haven't won. We deserve to win a title. At RCB, we get talked about so much as we had stars. The more you think (about winning the IPL), the more it keeps running away from you. There have been added pressure lately but we need to just enjoy and not take pressure."

Kohli has been staying put at his Mumbai home with his wife and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma. The two have been active on social media and have been persistent in their appeal of taking precautions and abiding by government orders to beat the menace of Covid-19.

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