Happy, excited, having fun playing cricket again, which is the most important thing: Virat Kohli

Dubai:- Talismanic India batter Virat Kohli revealed that he is happy, excited and having fun on playing cricket again during Asia Cup 2022 while saying that taking a break isn’t a bad thing at times.

Coming back to competitive cricketing action after a break of a month and a half, Kohli has scored two fifties in a row, including 60 off 44 balls against Pakistan in Super Four match on Sunday.

Along with a scratchy 35 against Pakistan earlier in Group A on the occasion of his 100th T20I, Kohli is currently the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 154 runs in three innings, averaging 77 and at a strike rate of 126.22.

“I didn’t think I’d go a month without touching my bat, but the situation became such that I had to take a break. More mentally than physically. Then you realise when you bat again after a month why you started playing the game. That (realisation) is lost at times, the way people look at you, cheer for you when you’re at the ground, at such times you can lose that realisation,” said Kohli in the post-match press conference.

On the eve of India’s tournament opener, Kohli had admitted to faking his intensity and not touching the bat for a month during his break from the game. “That drive and purity for the game, that joy dissipates. It was important to rediscover that again for me. When I’m happy in my space, then I know what I can do for the team. Me being in a bad space is neither good for the team nor for me.”

“I think no one should run away from this, if someone is feeling negative or low, taking a break isn’t a bad thing. And I hope people will derive strength from that and address whatever they are feeling. We’re all human, everyone can feel this way. But to recognise that and care about it is important.”

“If you ignore it, you will get more frustrated. This is something I realised and I got a lot of help. I’m happy, I’m excited and having fun playing cricket again, which was the most important thing for me,” elaborated the right-hander.

Asked if his good showings in Asia Cup 2022 would be enough to silence the critics, Kohli pointed towards finding his excitement and joy in batting as an important matter. “I’ve never paid attention to these things (outside criticism), to be honest. I’ve played for 14 years; it doesn’t happen by chance. My job is to work hard on my game, something I’m always keen to do. Keen to improve my game for the team. That’s something I’m going to continue to do so.”

“Everyone’s doing their job eventually. Our job is to play the game, work hard, give our 120%, and I’ve said it in the past that as long as I am doing that and the team has faith in that, what happens in the change room is the only thing that matters to us and to me as well personally. People have their opinions and that’s absolutely fine, that doesn’t change my happiness as a person.”

“I’ve taken some time away, put things into perspective, it’s given me the relaxation that this isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of life, I need to enjoy the game. I can’t put myself under so much pressure of expectation that I’m not able to express myself. That is not why I started playing this game.”

“I was able to find that excitement back, when I came here, the environment was very welcoming. The camaraderie with the boys is amazing. The environment within the team is amazing, so I’m absolutely loving playing at the moment all over again and feeling good the way I’m batting.”