Manoj Tiwary has hailed Virat Kohli for lifting Indian cricket by inculcating a fitness culture. The Bengal stalwart feels the new fitness ethos has had a rippling effect on the domestic circuit and at the grassroots.
Virat Kohli is one of the fittest athletes on the international sporting circuit. Under his tenure, the BCCI have amplified its fitness programs at all levels. From the yo-yo test to the new "2-km run" fitness test, Indian cricketers have to go under the grind to stand a chance of national selection.
Speaking to Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu in an SK Live session on Facebook, Manoj Tiwary said:
"A lot of credit has to go to Virat Kohli for bringing in that (fitness) mindset, especially after the last phase of MS Dhoni's captaincy. He brought a change in the fitness levels. As always, he has remained a prolific run-scorer. Even on a pitch where others struggled in Chennai, Kohli was out there scoring runs. Apart from the runs, he also brought in a fitness culture. He knew fitness would take the Indian side to a different level. That's how the yo-yo tests came in."
Making his international debut in India's 2007-08 Australian tour, Manoj Tiwary was once tipped to achieve great things. But a run of injuries and poor luck limited his progress.
Virat Kohli has a big impact on budding youngsters: Manoj Tiwary
In his prime, Manoj Tiwary was one of the best fielders in the country. The 35-year-old opined that the fitness culture brought on by Kohli has encouraged youngsters to work on this aspect.
"Even the budding youngsters in domestic cricket emphasise fitness knowing that if they aren't fit enough, they don't have a chance to represent India," added Manoj Tiwary, who played 15 internationals between 2008 and 2015.
Manoj Tiwary also commented on the Indian captaincy issue. He praised Ajinkya Rahane, but stated that Virat Kohli's captaincy record is "phenomenal" and among the best in the world.