Virat Kohli’s mantra: Few friends, less distraction

The newly-crowned supreme leader of Indian cricket is fiercely focused, not just on the field, but off it too.
“Luckily, I don’t have too many people in my life that I am close to. I think that helps. If you have too many people and too many friends you speak to, you get distracted and your time management becomes impossible,” Virat Kohli told ex-England captain Nasser Hussain in an interview to a British TV channel. Virat Kohli has finally opened up about the technical adjustments he made to his game following a poor tour of England in 2014, where he failed to get 50-plus scores in five Tests. Subsequently, Kohli’s form saw a remarkable upswing, beginning with the four hundreds in four Tests on the tour of Australia at the end of 2014 and continuing till now.

Kohli feels he was under pressure and desperate to score runs in England, leading to errors in his batting technique. “I had put too much pressure on myself before going to England (2014) that I needed to score there. I don’t know why subcontinent players are given different benchmarks that we have to perform in certain countries and if you don’t do that, you are not considered a good player.

“I think it was more about me being desperate to do well in England and then when you don’t do well, you start going down mentally,” Kohli told former England captain Nasser Hussain in a TV interview.
“Technique is important but even people with not-that-strong technique have been able to score well there because of a good mindset. The problem with me was that I was expecting inswingers too much and opened up my hip a lot more than I should have done. I was constantly looking for the inswinger and was in no position to counter the outswing,” Kohli said the changes were difficult to implement.

“This change has become easy now but it was not so at the beginning. I was batting three hours a day. I had cramps in my forearms by the end of the week. I did that for about 10 days. You know in golf they say you have to hit a shot 400-500 times before you can perfect that shot. So it was more about precise practice as I wanted to tune my head to play that way. I wasn’t used to forward pressing as I was waiting for the ball to clip it off my leg or waiting for the short ball.”

Kohli also said that the forward movement was suggested to him by Sachin Tendulkar. “There Sachin helped as he told me that I have to approach a fast bowler (forward press) just like you approach a spinner. One has to get on top of the ball not worry about pace or swing, you got to get towards the ball. That advice helped me.”

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