New Delhi, Nov 23: India's Test skipper Virat Kohli is not only at the epitome of his form but the Delhi lad is also one of the fittest cricketers in the world.
Ever since Kohli attained the prime of his fitness he has transformed as a cricketer. He's atheleticism and running between the wickets puts everyone in awe.
The stories on how Kohli attained supreme fitness are well documented but not many know about his candid chat with former India coach Duncan Fletcher before he became a fitness freak.
It is well known that he started taking fitness much more seriously after a forgettable performance in IPL 2012. The aggressive batsman changed his training regime and eating habits completely, realising the need to transform his body to survive the rigours of playing all three formats.
As per Virat Kohli himself, an impromptu conversation with Fletcher also helped improve his fitness.
"Duncan told me once that he feels cricket is the most unprofessional of professional sports," Kohli told The Telegraph in an interview after India won the second Test in Vizag to take a 1-0 lead in the five match series against England.
"You can have the skill but do not think you need to train as much as a tennis player. But I realised if you want to stay on top playing three formats in this day and age you need a routine.
"You need a set pattern of your training, the way you eat, how healthy and fit you need to be. Being fitter made me mentally stronger. It was like a direct connection," Kohli recalled.
India's batting mainstay admitted that it was tough to follow the strict regime initially.
"It changed in 2012. I had great tours to Australia and scored 180 against Bangladesh and went into the IPL thinking: Wow this is going to be a great season for me. I wanted to make it my tournament and dominate the bowlers. I really struggled.
"My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset. The season ended and I was so thankful it was over. I went home, came out of the shower one day and looked at myself in the mirror and said you cant look like this if you want to be a professional cricketer.
It is not a surprise that Kohli wants his team to be the fittest in the world. He thinks being in top shape would help the side both at home and overseas.
"One of the things I would love is for this team to win series outside India, not just in one place but everywhere we go. For me it is not winning one Test match and saying we made history and then not being able to follow that up. I want us to be the fittest Indian team that has played the game as well.
"That is our goal to be become better people along years of playing together. Friendships to last. Most exciting thing is everyone is young building careers together. If things fall in the right place this could be a great phase for us," he added.
Here are some of the images to reveal his fitness:
Virat Kohli - The fitness freak
Duncan told me once that he feels cricket is the most unprofessional of professional sports: Kohli told The Telegraph.
Virat Kohli is fittest cricketer in the world
At present Virat Kohli is fittest cricketer in the world.
Kohli spends a lot of time in gym
"I was 11 or 12kgs heavier than I am now, I was really chubby. I changed everything from the next morning from what I eat to how I train. I was in the gym for an hour-and-a-half every day. Working really hard, off gluten, off wheat, no cold drinks, no desserts, nothing. It was tough," said Kohli.
Virat Kohli worked very hard on his diet
"For the first two months I felt I wanted to eat the bed sheet when I went to sleep because I was so hungry. I was craving taste. I was craving delicious food. But then I saw the results. I felt quick around the field. I would wake up in morning and feel like I had energy," Kohli said.
Kohli inspires teammates to be fit
One of the things I would love is for this team to win series outside India, not just in one place but everywhere we go. For me it is not winning one Test match and saying we made history and then not being able to follow that up. I want us to be the fittest Indian team that has played the game as well, added Kohli.
(With inputs from agencies)