It has been 42 days since Virat Kohli played a professional game of cricket. That’s a luxury considering the sort of gruelling cricket schedule that he and the Indian team has had to deal with recently. Even for an athlete of his calibre, the workload was starting to take a toll, as admitted by Kohli himself on more than one occasion in the last six months. But, that’s been taken care of, for now. He returns to action ‘100 percent’ to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore into a new decade.
An ‘intense’ full tour of South Africa [he only missed the third and final T20I] prompted Kohli to ‘completely’ take time off the game, however ‘weird’ it got.
“Well, I required it [the break]. Physically I was up with a few niggles. I pretty much went to the tour of South Africa with full intensity. Towards the end, the body obviously took a bit of beating. I understood that I need complete time off from the game. Three weeks without even looking at my kit bag or bats was a weird feeling,” Kohli said in a media interaction in Bengaluru on April 4 (Wednesday).
Staying away from the field didn’t really mean Kohli was going to disconnect entirely. The kit bag was away alright, but an urge to catch up with what was happening around the world on the field kept him clued in. He took to Twitter to repeatedly shower praise on Aiden Markram, who was one of the most impressive youngsters to come away from an immensely eventful Australia tour of South Africa.
“At the back of your mind, you are never out of the game. I was keeping a check on all the scores happening around the world, especially with India playing as well. That kept me involved in some way. Physically I wanted to take a complete break. I’m feeling strong and I’ve been training non-stop for the last 12 days. I feel I’m getting close to my peak condition. I’m definitely at 100 percent now, 110 is what I prefer and that 10 will take a little more time.”
Kohli was away when RCB did a decent job on the auction table across the two days in January. After an ordinary day one, they made a strong comeback to put together a well-rounded squad, which has filled the captain with some optimism after a barren decade in the IPL.
“We are optimistic about the season. It’s very very balanced side. In the 10 years that I’ve been here, I don’t think we’ve ever had such a balance. We had initially but everyone firing together is also a massive factor,” Kohli said.
“This year we are not relying only on batting, we’ve got bowling options too. That gives us plenty of positivity heading into the IPL. Something we know is that if we execute our plans well enough, we have cricketers who are experienced and know-how to get the job done in the middle. We have faith in all the boys that are in the squad. We understand they have the intelligence level to execute the skills at the required time,” he added.