International Cricket

IPL 2024 – Virat Kohli – ‘Amazing experience to just be another person on the road’

Virat Kohli, after his match-winning 77 against Punjab Kings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, opened up about his two-month break when his wife Anushka Sharma gave birth to their second child. Kohli missed India’s home Test series against England as he and his family spent time away from the country.

“We were not in the country. We were at a place where people were not recognising us. Just time together as a family, just to feel normal for two months,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “For me, for us as a family, it was a surreal experience.

“Of course, having two kids, things become totally different from a family perspective. So just the ability to be together, the connections that you make with your older child, it’s amazing.

“I mean, I couldn’t have been more grateful to God for the opportunity that I got to spend time with my family.”

Kohli spoke about how he enjoyed not being treated like a celebrity.

“And yeah, just the place that we were in, I was telling the guys that when we came back, the voices back home felt that much louder,” he said. “I couldn’t look up because I was just not used to being called my name for two months. And then immediately you hear these loud noises and then you’re back in it all again.

“But it was beautiful. It’s an amazing experience to just be another person on the road and not be recognised and just carry on about life that normally people would on a daily basis,” he said.

Kohli also spoke about the love he gets from the RCB fans, especially in Bengaluru, having played for the franchise since the inception of the IPL.

“It’s been going on for years and you know, people talk about a lot of other things when you play sport. The achievements, the stats, the numbers. Look at the end of the day when you look back you’re not going to think of the numbers and the stats. It’s the memories that you create,” Kohli said, before citing the Indian team head coach Rahul Dravid. “Famously Rahul bhai in the change room nowadays says exactly the same to us. When you play, you play your heart out because you’re going to miss these times when you’re with your friends in the change room playing in front of fans.

“So the relationship that’s happened organically over so many years it’s something that I can never ever forget. Just the love and the appreciation and the backing I’ve received for so many years that’s been amazing.”

Kohli, however, knows that he has to make changes to his game to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of T20 cricket.

“Well I mean you have to [make additions to your game],” he said while speaking about stepping out to fast bowlers and hitting them over cover, as opposed to playing the grounded cover drive that he is so famous for.

“People know I play the cover drive pretty well so they’re not going to allow me to hit gaps and with guys like KG [Kagiso Rabada] and Arshdeep [Singh] as well, he’s tall. So, I mean, if they’re hitting length, you have to create some momentum in the ball.

“And once you’re closer to the ball, you kind of negate the bounce that’s going to happen. You meet it earlier.

“So, I mean, you have to come up with a game plan here and there and try to keep improving your game,” Kohli said, before issuing a friendly reminder.

“I know my name is nowadays quite attached to just promoting the game in many parts of the world when it comes to T20 cricket. But, I’ve still got it, I guess.”

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