New Delhi: Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who has taken his game to another level, has also set new benchmarks for other players in terms of fitness.
His ability to steel singles or convert singles into doubles has made the world look in awe for Kohli’s endurance. And that led his childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma heap praise for Kohli for his efforts. Rajkumar recollected the days when he use to gorge butter chicken, mutton rolls and all sorts of fast food. In a recent interview, Rajkumar said that while players and experts across the world admire Kohli’s fitness regime and work ethics, he just admires the sacrifices that his student has gone through to reach the peak.
Sharma said “Kohli once told me, if I don’t set the benchmark as captain, who else will? Even as the world looks on in wonder, I know the boy behind the man. He used to gorge on butter chicken, rolls and all sorts of fast food. But today, it finds no place in his diet.”
The Delhi lad has transformed himself to another level where the opponents find it difficult to get rid of the Indian captain.
“In fact, he is so particular about his diet, that even when he comes over to my place, he won’t have packaged fruit juices. You either give him fresh juice or you don’t. Carbohydrates are a strict no-no and there are no off days in his routine anymore,” Sharma added.
The 27-year old cricketer made his international debut in 2008 in the five match ODI series against Sri Lanka. For Rajkumar, more than the fitness regime, it is Kohli’s dedication that he sticks to the routine that that makes the coach proud of him. He further added that the sacrifices his student has made at this age is something that even people of his age can’t.
“See, it is easy to do these things for a short or particular span of time. But to make it a constant routine and life style is what makes me proud. It takes a lot of devotion and focus to restructure your lifestyle to this extent. He has cut down on carbs and doesn’t even have chapatis. It is either grilled or boiled food for him. Even his coffee is without sugar and definitely no packaged fruit juices for him,” he revealed. He also credits other trainers who work with Kohli while on national duty, for his transition to a run-machine.
“I would be lying if I take all the credit for this. Yes, I did suggest working out for a couple of hours and maintaining discipline, but credit also goes to the trainers in the team as they made him further believe the importance of physical fitness and its direct effect on the game.
“In the last two or three years, he has taken fitness and his eating habits to a different level. He takes it so seriously that he got a gym built in his new house. He has this belief that fitness is very important if you have to succeed in international cricket. And his only goal in life is to keep raising the bar,” he said. Rajkumar shared that discipline is one of the major reasons for the success that the right-handed batsman has achieved. Kohli finished as the top scorer in 2016 with 2580 runs from 40 innings.
“Talent was never a problem with Kohli, but then, the effect of the gruelling fitness regime is that he has more stamina and can keep picking the singles and doubles and turn the singles into doubles. He doesn’t tire down and hence the need to play risky shots go out of the equation. Whatever be his work schedule or travel scene, he always finds time to hit the gym,” he signed off.
Virat also tops the ICC T20 rankings while he is right behind Australian captain Steve Smith in Test rankings and AB de Villiers in ODI rankings.