'Much more to life than profession' - Virat Kohli reveals his new-found perspective after the break'
Virat Kohli skipped the tours to West Indies and Zimbabwe after the end of the tour of UK in July.
Virat Kohli has found a new lease of life following an extended break from the game after the end of the tour of England in July. The cricketer, who admitted to battling mental health issues, says he has realised there is "much more to life" than the constant rigours of the game.
Given a breather from the tours to the Caribbean and Zimbabwe, the former India skipper made an honest confession on mental drainage as a cricketer and termed this phase as one of perspective for him on and off the field.
The 33-year-old said once he stopped "faking" intensity for the game and let it gradually recultivate inside him, he was able to "embrace" the challenge inside his head and rejuvenate himself mentally.
Speaking to Asia Cup host broadcasters Star Sports in an interview, Virat Kohli acknowledged the love and support of his passionate fans in what has been a sustained period without scoring big runs for him. But also said the expectation and "demands" that his position attracts can't be a "representation" of who he is.
'I'm not shy to admit I was feeling mentally down' - Virat Kohli
"This period actually taught me a lot of things that I wasn't allowing to come to surface. When they eventually came up, I embraced it," Virat Kohli said, before indirectly clarifying he wasn't rested but given a mental health break by the selectors.
"There's much more to life than just your profession. Somewhere you start losing perspective as a human being. The love and support [I get] drives me, but that cannot be the representation of who I am. The demands of the position cannot be the representation of who I am."
Kohli spoke with honesty about his mental health and made a larger point through his case for other cricketers to also open up without feeling hesitant about the reactions outside.
The modern-day great informed he didn't pick up the bat for a whole month after the tour of UK in July and that gave him an understanding he was "faking" his intensity on the field and his brain needed a break of this nature.
"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," Kohli said.
"I came to the 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 is telling you to stop. Your mind is telling me to take a break and step back."