Virat Kohli reveals it were Australian fast bowlers who made him realise importance of fitness in contemporary Cricket during 2011-12 series
Team India’s shocking semi-final exit from the 2019 Cricket World Cup left the team and the fans absolutely shattered and gutted. From ending the league stage as table toppers to bowing down against the comparatively low in confidence Kiwi side, (having lost the last three league matches) surely was not something that skipper Virat Kohli would have expected.
But, with all done and dusted and Kohli alive and kicking, the 30-year-old World No.1 batsman in the World has geared himself up for his team’s next International assignment set to commence from August 3 against the West Indies.
One of the prime reasons for the Kohli-led Indian Cricket Team’s consistent success across all formats is the fitness standards and culture that the players have inculcated within themselves. And leading the pack of fit individuals is the skipper himself.
#Cricket : India skipper Virat Kohli has retained his number one position in the latest ICC Test batsmen’s rankings. Kohli, who last featured in India’s 2-1 Test series win over Australia, is sitting on 922 points.
2nd – Kane Williamson (913)
3rd – Cheteshwar Pujara (881) pic.twitter.com/N3ZfUXyabj
— Doordarshan Sports (@ddsportschannel) July 24, 2019
Now, the skipper has revealed the triggering event in his career that made him realise what it would take to be at the top, not only as a player, but the team as a whole.
“The Australian fast bowlers in 2012 made me realise the importance of fitness”- Kohli
During an interaction with the Times of India, Kohli revealed that during the 2012 India’s tour of Australia (where India lost 0-4) he had realised that the template is changing really fast in World Cricket.
As per Kohli, the Australians were getting fitter, with the ability to bowl and bat consistently for longer periods of time. It was at that point, that he realised that it is a matter of fitness, a culture which was perhaps lacking in the team and becoming a hurdle in keeping in pace with the increasing levels of requirements of the game.
“I realised after playing Australia in 2012 that the template is changing very fast in world cricket. These guys (Australians) are getting fitter. They are able to bowl consistently, bat for longer periods. Maarne ko ball hi nahin mil raha tha (they were not bowling loose balls.) I wondered how was it possible that over a period of four Test matches, you don’t get loose deliveries to hit.
“When we were batting, we had to work three times harder. Then I figured out that it’s a question of fitness level. I wanted to improve my fitness first because I didn’t want to be left behind. The way world cricket was going, I realised that if I stick to my ways and be stubborn about it then I’ll never improve. I was doing my own thing on the sidelines and started seeing results”, said Kohli.
“Shankar Basu changed the whole scene after he came in”- Kohli
Kohli gave a fair share of credit to the former fitness trainer of the Indian Team- Shankar Basu (whose stint with the BCCI came to an end post the 2019 World Cup), as the reason for the entire transition pertaining the team’s fitness culture.
“Our trainer Shankar Basu was the first one to point it out to me that if you don’t change your fitness level, then you’ll not be able to compete at the level of these guys. He knew it from that time. I have been working with him for years. He changed the whole scene after he came in”, said Kohli.