Former India captain Virat Kohli admitted that he was feeling “mentally down”, which eventually resulted in him taking a break from cricket following the 2022 tour of England in July.
The 33-year-old, who has been enduring a wretched run with the bat, scored only 76 runs across one Test match, two T20Is and two ODIs against England. After the tour concluded, Kohli took a break and went on to miss the following two tours – West Indies and Zimbabwe.
As India’s modern batting great Kohli will return to competitive cricket at the Asia Cup, he will be aiming to make a strong comeback when India take on Pakistan in their opening match of the continental tournament on August 28.
Although Kohli is known for his aggression and intensity, which often rubs on his teammates, the former captain revealed his mental health that forced him to step away from the sport recently. Kohli had previously suffered from mental health issues during the 2014 tour of England.
“For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t touch my bat for a month. I came to realisation that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit recently. 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,” Kohli said in a video shared by Star Sports.
“I’m looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am. But everyone has a limit and you need to recognize that limit, otherwise things can get unhealthy for you. 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.
“I’m not shy to admit that I was feeling mentally down. 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.
Kohli’s return to competitive cricket will coincide with his 100th T20I match. He has scored 3308 runs, including an unbeaten 94, at a strike rate of 137.66 in the shortest format of the game.