Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli recalled and reflected on the tough phase he went through while battling depression during the England tour of 2014 after a string of failures.
Recently, former England cricket player Mark Nicholas interviewed Virat on a podcast. Upon being asked whether he suffered from depression during the difficult tour, Virat admitted, “Yes, I did. It’s not a great feeling to wake up knowing that you won’t be able to score runs and I think all batsmen have felt that at some stage that you are not in control of anything at all.”
As per a report in News18, Kohli had registered scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0,7, 6, and 20 in five tests of the 2014 England Tour, averaging 13.40 in his 10 innings. He said, “You just don’t understand how to get over it. That was a phase when I literally couldn’t do anything to overturn things…I felt like I was the loneliest guy in the world.”
Despite the presence of supportive people in his life, he recalled how he still felt alone, and that professional help was what he required. He explained, “Personally, for me, that was a revelation that you could feel that lonely even though you are a part of a big group. I won’t say I didn’t have people who I could speak to but not having a professional to speak to who could understand what I am going through completely, I think is a huge factor.” He added, “I think I would like to see it change.”
“Someone whom you can go to at any stage, have a conversation around and say ‘Listen this is what I am feeling, I am finding it hard to even go to sleep, I feel like I don’t want to wake up in the morning. I have no confidence in myself, what do I do?'” Kohli added.
He further emphasized the point that mental health cannot be overlooked. He said, “Lot of people suffer from that feeling for longer periods of time, it carries on for months, it carries on for a whole cricket season, people are not able to get out of it. I strongly feel the need for professional help there to be very honest.”
He then fondly remembered his childhood days and the inspiration behind his passion for cricket, saying, “The Indian team of the ’90s really opened up my imagination about what could be done with the sport because it is so different from anything else I had seen before. It just instilled a lot of faith and belief in me that magical things can be done if an individual believes or decides. That’s where the spark started…the dream of wanting to play for the country really started.”
On the “most impactful” incident of his life, Kohli considers it to be the time when he lost his father Premchand at the age of 18, whom he considered to be his biggest supporter. “That incident really put things in proper perspective for me. My father did work very hard in the initial days to make sure that I get the best cricket gear or I continue with my cricket practice,” he said.
“From there on it made my belief even stronger that come what may, I am definitely going to realize my dream to play at the highest level and represent my country,” he revealed.
He further asserted, “The disconnect for many years now is people don’t seem to understand, don’t seem to process a lot of the times is that I have never worked towards creating a perception for myself which is perfect from a worldly point of view. For me what matters is what I can do as an individual and how much I can provide on the cricket field as an individual. I cannot fabricate things to look good in front of a certain set of people. That’s just not who I am.”
He concluded by saying how he doesn’t pay heed to the expectations of others. “Expectation is honestly a burden when you start thinking about it too much,” he said.
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