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India great Kohli 'faked intensity' during mental crisis

28 August 2022, MVT 14:21
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 3, 2022 India's Virat Kohli plays a shot during play on Day 3 of the fifth cricket Test match between England and India at Edgbaston, Birmingham in central England. - Indian cricket superstar Virat Kohli, who took his team to unprecedented heights, says he has struggled with his mental health throughout his career, local media reported on August 18, 2022. -- Photo: Geoff Caddick / AFP
28 August 2022, MVT 14:21

Former India captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that his mental health suffered during an extended slump in form and that he had attempted to "fake intensity" to put up a brave front.

The 33-year-old Kohli will return to action in the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in the hotly-anticipated match between India and Pakistan on Sunday after taking a month-long break.

"For the first time in 10 years I have not touched a bat since a month," Kohli told Asia Cup broadcasters Star Sports.

"I came to the realisation that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit, recently. 'No, I can do it competitively' and convincing yourself that you have intensity but your body is telling you to stop."

Kohli, who rested during the recent white-ball tour of West Indies and Zimbabwe, has endured a prolonged lean patch and last scored an international century in November 2019 with his batting form under intense scrutiny.

The former captain, who built a reputation for 'in-your-face' aggression and exemplary batting, led India to the top of the five-day rankings.

"You can get carried away with so many demands nowadays, especially as schedules get piled up again and again," said Kohli.

"You have seen the results of what happened to Ben Stokes and Trent Boult, Moeen (Ali) retiring from Test cricket. These aren't abnormalities but happen, and people who are in touch with them know what's happening in their lives."

Kohli recently became part of a select group of players including England captain Ben Stokes who spoke about struggles with mental health and once again reiterated his stand

"I'm looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong, and I am," Kohli said.

"But everyone has a limit, and you need to recognise that limit, otherwise things can get unhealthy for you.

"It's not abnormal. Talk about it and discuss with people. We don't speak because we are hesitant and we don't want to be looked at as mentally weak.

"Trust me, faking to be strong is far worse and that's something that I'm not feeling any shame for, that I was feeling mentally weak."

Kohli will play his landmark 100th T20 international when he takes the field against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday.

© Agence France-Presse

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