What’s the story?
World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev has marvelled at Virat Kohli’s incredible levels of fitness but has warned the current Indian skipper of getting burned out due to his excessively strenuous training schedules.
"Cricketers are the least fit of all sportsmen. But Kohli has also set the benchmark for fitness. Sometimes I think he is over-fit. When you train that hard, your muscles can burn out faster. With that much fitness training, you're worried about getting injured also”.
In case you didn’t know…
India’s captain in all three formats, Virat Kohli has undergone a tremendous transformation from his chubby-face days and has evolved himself into a super fit athlete, a process that started with a sudden realisation after the 2012 IPL.
As a batsman, he has been in awe-inspiring form, with his purple patch refusing to dry out: season after season and format after format. In his last four Test series, Kohli has scored a double century in each of them, becoming the first batsman in Test cricket history to do so.
The heart of the matter
Heaping praise on Kohli’s current form and fitness during the launch of “Numbers Don’t Lie”, a book by Aakash Chopra and Impact Index, Kapil Dev said said he was pleased by the 28-year old’s approach to the game, drawing a clear distinction between Kohli’s style of play and that of his peers by saying that the Indian captain has “excellent technique” and can pick the length very early to play a shot.
He also added that it is scary how Kohli is rocketing towards greatness, terming him to be a mix of Vivian Richards and Sachin Tendulkar. He also said that if Kohli continues in the same vein, he might be actually spoken ahead of Donald Bradman in the future.
Kohli and the Indian cricket team now awaits Australia’s incoming team as part of the final leg of their 13-Test home season, the first of which begins at Pune on February 23. At 895 points in the batting rankings, Virat Kohli is closing in on the 900-mark and will become only the second Indian after Sunil Gavaskar (916) to cross the landmark. His mentor, Sachin Tendulkar’s highest career-ranking was 898.
Although praise for Kohli has been pouring in from all quarters, and adjectives have started looking jaded from being overused, Kapil Dev’s remarks are a stark reminder of the fact that being in superb form for such long periods might eventually (god forbid!) take the juice out of Kohli mind and body at some point in the future.
Kapil Dev’s fears are understandable, for Kohli’s brilliant form notwithstanding, the choc-a-bloc schedule, coupled with the responsibility of handling the team’s mantle in all three formats, might push the 28-year old towards exhaustion soon. He himself conceded recently that he might not be able to play as long as Sachin Tendulkar. Hopefully, the BCCI will employ a rotation policy on him for less important tours, as they have done for others like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
As India gears up for the Australian challenge next, revisit one of Kohli’s most memorable limited-overs knocks Down Under (Video courtesy: Cricket Australia).