After playing “eight or nine years” of chock-a-block cricket around the world in all formats, Virat Kohli is bracing himself for three more years of the same, after which it “might be a different conversation” as far as his future is concerned, the Indian captain said on Wednesday (February 19).
Only five days after playing an ODI against Australia at home, India were playing a T20I in New Zealand as Kohli found himself at the mercy of the packed international calendar, saying “it is what it is”. Now, ahead of the Test series, Kohli has reiterated that the calendar is something that the players are thinking about. “Look it’s not a conversation that is to hide away from in any manner,” Kohli said. “I think it’s been eight or nine years that I have been playing almost 300 days a year with the travelling and practice sessions. And the intensity is right up there all the time. So it does take a toll on you. I am not saying that it’s not something the players are not thinking about.”
So far, the only way Kohli has managed his workload is by taking intermittent breaks from the shorter formats. Case in point, he was rested for the T20I series against Bangladesh, and then took a break in one of the New Zealand matches as well after the rubber was decided. It’s an arrangement that’s functioning well for him given where his fitness stands at this point of his career and he’s determined to get through for the next 2-3 years during which his contribution would be paramount leading into a possible ‘transition phase’.
“We do choose to take a lot more breaks individually even though the schedule might not allow you to,” Kohli said. “You are going to see a lot of that in the future from many players. Not just myself, especially from the guys who are playing all three formats. It’s not that easy. Then being captain and having intensity in practice session and discussing the game, so it does take a toll on you. So I am not in that space at the moment. So periodic breaks for me seems to work pretty okay. At a time when the body doesn’t respond as well, maybe when I am 34-35, you might have a different conversation at that stage. But for the next 2-3 years, I have no issues at all. Can keep going on with the same intensity and I also understand that the team wants a lot of my contribution in the next 2-3 years so that we can ease into another transition phase that we faced some 5-6 years ago. So the mindset is on the larger picture, and from that point, I am preparing myself for a rigorous three years from now. And then after that we might have a different conversation.”