Asia Cup T20 2022: Virat Kohli admits being 'mentally down'; reveals didn't touch bat for month
The prolonged lean patch did take a toll on Virat Kohli's "mental health", as the former India captain admitted to not having touched the bat during the month-long break before Asia Cup.
Indian batting sensation Virat Kohli acknowledged that he hadn't picked up a bat during the month-long layoff before the Asia Cup T20 2022, indicating that the prolonged lean patch had a negative impact on his "mental health."
Although Kohli has gone over three years without scoring an international century, the former Indian skipper acknowledged his slump had impacted him, and there were instances when he had been "faking intensity" to appear to be the epitome of mental toughness.
"I am not shy to admit that I was feeling mentally down," the former India skipper told "Star Sports" in an episode of "Virat: Heart to Heart".
Following the tour, Kohli took a break, skipping two white-ball series in the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
"For the first time in 10 years, I didn't touch my bat for a month. I came to the realisation that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit recently," Kohli said.
"I was convincing myself that no, you had the intensity. But your body was telling you to stop. The mind was telling me to take a break and step back," the former Indian skipper added.
Mental health issues are a reality and just like Ben Stokes said in his docu-series, Kohli also spoke about need to not keep the feelings bottled up.
"This is a very normal thing to feel, but we don't speak because we are hesitant. We don't want to be looked at as mentally weak. Trust me, faking to be strong is far worse than admitting to be weak," he said.
In the 2019 Eden Gardens pink ball Test against Bangladesh, Kohli scored his last international century. In his previous five games, which included two ODIs, two T20Is, and a Test, his highest score was 20, which came during India's defeat to England in the fifth Test's rescheduled match.
The IPL-15 was quiet for Kohli, who has given up his position as captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore. He scored 341 runs from 16 games at an average of 22.73.
"I'm looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am. But everyone has a limit and you need to recognise that limit, otherwise things can get unhealthy for you," he said.
"This period taught me a lot of things that I wasn't allowing to come to surface. When they eventually came up, I embraced it," he added.
Kohli will return to action in India's Asia Cup opener against Pakistan on August 28.
"I want to make my team win at any cost and if that means I am gasping for breath when I walk off the field then so be it," he said.
"I mean that's the kind of preparation I go through to be able to play like that. Wo naturally nahi ho raha tha aur mujhe push karna pad raha tha (I was not able to get that high intensity naturally, I was pushing myself to do it). But I just didn't know it," said Kohli.
On his high-intensity approach on the field, Kohli said: "People ask me a lot, how do you do this on the field and how do you carry on with so much intensity. I just tell them I love playing the game and I love the fact that I have so much to contribute to every ball, and I will give every inch of my energy on the field."
(With inputs from PTI)