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Will stop playing when passion of winning ceases, says Virat Kohli

Retirement talks are years away, but a pragmatic Kohli doesn't shy away from talking about the day it'll all end.


Kohli wi

Kohli turns 29 on November 5


What’s the story?

He’s only 29, but a time will eventually come when Indian cricket will have to part ways with Virat Kohli, when age will finally catch up with the run-machine and bring it to a halt. Kohli is in the form of his life, and still has many years of cricket left in him, but the 28-year-old gave a sneak peek on his take on retirement during the web talk-show ‘Breakfast With Champions’.

“The motivation is just about winning. The day the passion ends, I will stop playing. I’ll never want to drag myself for more than my body can take”, Kohli said.

In case you didn’t know…

Days away from turning 29, Kohli has been obliterating batting records with remarkable ease, and has been thriving in a rich vein of form that refuses to subside. Second on the all-time list of most ODI hundreds, his remarkable fitness has ensured that his body has supported his run-making streak, with no major injury issues in an almost decade long international career. He had, however, recently said that he aims to play for ten more years if he manages to stay just as fit.

The heart of the matter

On the show, an unusually vocal Kohli, in his true elements, spoke his heart out on retirement and bad form, conceding that there had been days when he had woken up with a sense of detachment to what he was doing. He still managed to put those thoughts away and bring his mind back into the game, but also added that it was during a phase when there was immense pressure to prove himself.

He said that when the feeling of pushing oneself back from failure subsides and the abiliy to try yet again stops, continuing from there on is impossible for a sportsperson. 

The Delhi-born batsman also said that he’ll stop playing when he feels he’s just standing on the field without the passion and energy of winning, when the game becomes "more of a participation thing".

“If I can’t contribute to the team, I won’t continue”, he conceded.

What’s next?

Chasing success at the speed of light, Kohli, who turns 29 on November 5, will embark on the next phase of his career, both as a world class batsman and as captain, when the side tours South Africa next year. Before that, a series against Sri Lanka awaits, one that might see him getting rested to decrease the workload on him.

Author’s take

The usually articulate Kohli displayed his frank, natural self on the talk show, opening up on a variety of aspects of life, but did not shy away from talking about retirement and loss of form, something that cricketers tend to keep mum about. A grounded person with a level-headed personality, Kohli understands the value of what he possesses, and still considers himself to be a humble student of the game. 

While the days to even talk about his retirement are very far away, the fact that Kohli has already thought over it and has a very pragmatic view towards it, goes to show that he is in a very comfortable space mentally and acknowledges the crests and troughs of the sport.

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