‘Time away from game taught me a lot, when I came back I wasn’t desperate’
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Having broken a run of 1021 days without a century for India, Virat Kohli was elated and grateful – and a tad surprised to have ended this phase in the shortest format

Virat Kohli celebrates his maiden T20I hundred, Afghanistan vs India, Super 4, Dubai, Asia Cup, September 8, 2022

Virat Kohli ended his century drought with his maiden T20I hundred  •  Associated Press

It had been 1020 days since Virat Kohli reached the triple digits for India. After finally breaking that jinx, against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, he spoke about what it meant to him, and reiterated how taking a break from the game and having a lot of support from his family helped him along. Here’s what he said at a mid-innings interview, having notched up the highest individual score for India in T20Is and lifted them to a daunting 212 for 2, albeit in a dead rubber.

“I feel very blessed, very grateful right now. Last two and a half years have taught me a lot. I’m going to turn 34 in November, so celebrations [on getting to landmarks] are all [a thing of] the past. I have put a lot of things in perspective and, actually, I was a bit shocked because this was the format I least expected a century to come in any time soon, but it’s all God’s blessings. I have been working hard and this was just a moment which was very special for me and the team as well.

“It [the thoughts running through his head] was an accumulation of a lot of things. As I said, when I came back into the team [after a break], the team’s been really open and welcoming and helpful, given me space to work on my game. I know there was a lot of stuff going on on the outside but they really kept my perspective right.

“And I kissed my ring [on a chain around his neck] in the celebration as well. You see me standing here like this right now because [of] all the things that have been put in perspective [and] have been done by one person, who stood by me through all these difficult times – that’s [his wife] Anushka [Sharma] and this hundred is specially dedicated to her and our little daughter Vamika as well.

“Six weeks off, I was refreshed, I understood after taking a break how tired actually I was mentally and physically. Your competitiveness doesn’t allow you to take that call, but I think it was a blessing in disguise for me”

“As I said, [it helps] when you have someone next to you putting the things in right perspective like I have [had], and Anushka has been by my side through all these times…

Time away from the game taught me a lot of things, when I came back I wasn’t desperate. I was grateful for what God blessed me [with] before. People were talking about me not getting a hundred but I looked at how much he has given me already, so that really calmed me down, that relaxed me, I was just happy to come back.

“Six weeks off, I was refreshed, I understood after taking a break how tired actually I was mentally and physically. Your competitiveness doesn’t allow you to take that call, but I think it was a blessing in disguise for me. I wanted to be the best version of myself for the team, and when I came here, when I started playing in the nets, I felt like my old rhythm was coming back. It was just about getting those performances in the middle again.”

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