Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century against Australia in Ahmedabad. (AFP)
Virat Kohli is, without a doubt, one of the fittest cricketers around and that can be attributed to his stringent fitness routine, work ethic and his unshakeable resolve to shun unhealthy food. His supreme fitness levels are evident whenever he takes the field, whether he is running a quick single or turning ones into twos and twos into threes, stopping crucial runs on the field, taking stunning catches, or playing marathon innings.
However, he was not always this particular about his fitness. Kohli’s India teammate Dinesh Karthik pointed this out in a chat with noted sports presenter Harsha Bhogle for Cricbuzz. However, Karthik was quick to add how Kohli restrained himself and made immense sacrifices on his way to becoming the cricketer and role model that he is today.
Also read – ‘I Forgot How to Play The Game’: Virat Kohli Opens up About Why he Quit as RCB Captain
“Number one and the first word that I will put is discipline. Second thing, fitness is not about just and only hitting the gym or running. It is a lifestyle. So what you put into your mouth is as important as the amount of workouts and running you do and that is where Virat Kohli is brilliant. He was a foodie, he used to enjoy all sorts of fatty foods, sweets, just like all of us”, Karthik said.
“But he put a massive cut on all of that so that he can become the cricketer he wants to be and that’s the sacrifice you need to make. Have a look at the bigger picture and say if that is what I want to be in 5-10 years’ time, I need to cut down on certain things in my life that I am doing right now. That’s the decision he’s taken and you can see the results that have followed”, the wicketkeeper-batsman added.
Karthik also mentioned how the former Indian captain never let his guard down as far as his fitness and diet schedule were concerned, even during tough times and during times when he had to face criticism.
“It is a great case of not giving up because when he’s had his bad run, things weren’t going his way, the one thing he consistently kept doing is training and eating well. So there are many moments during that when his mind says it’s okay, do something that you’ve probably liked before, stay happy. But he has given up on that, sacrificed on that, hoping that one day it will come to use and these are the kind of days when he’s batting on 130, 140, needs to take that quick single”, Karthik said.
Also read – ‘When Virat Kohli Came in, Sachin Would Compete With Him’: Virender Sehwag Opens up on Tendulkar’s Fitness Regime
Kohli had himself acknowledged some time back that he was not always very disciplined in terms of his fitness and diet. In an interview with former England captain Michael Vaughan for The Telegraph in 2016, the then-Indian captain Kohli recalled his journey from being a foodie and a “chubby” youngster with a “horrible mindset” to a star with extreme levels of athleticism.
Kohli said, “My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset… It was 11 or 12kgs heavier than I am now, I was really chubby. I changed everything from the next morning from what I eat to how I train. I was in the gym for an hour-and-a-half every day. Working really hard, off gluten, off wheat, no cold drinks, no desserts, nothing. It was tough. For the first two months I felt I wanted to eat the bed sheet when I went to sleep because I was so hungry. I was craving taste. I was craving delicious food. But then I saw the results.”
Kohli has had to endure a slump in form of late with the centuries from his bat that the world had grown so used to drying up. He could not score an international century since November 2019 unless he got one against Afghanistan in September last year, ending an almost three-year wait. Following that century in Dubai, he notched up three ODI hundreds in quick succession and a Test ton in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.
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