Mumbai: IPL’s all-time leading scorer, Virat Kohli, feels playing in the lucrative league for 14 years has made him realize that there is not just one template to succeed in the game in which he has attained superstar status.
It also helped him add a different dimension to his “understanding of the game”, the former India captain said.
Seeking to regain his touch after battling a prolonged slump in form, Kohli has so far accumulated nearly 6500 runs in the IPL, having played for Royal Challengers Bangalore from its inaugural edition in 2008.
On IPL’s impact on his life, Kohli said on the ‘Inside RCB’ show on Star Sports, “I think outside of playing for India, IPL gave me the platform to show my capabilities, compete against the best in the world, and share knowledge with them.
“I think that was the most important thing that added a different dimension to my understanding of the game. This helped me move ahead in a very progressive manner.
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“I was picking brains of people that probably I wouldn’t have come across otherwise on things like how to play in different conditions and what mindset they have.
“You know, people have different ways to succeed so it can’t be just one template. So I used to be so excited and grateful for the opportunity to pick their brains and just learn from them, day in and day out, and that’s for me has been the standout feature of IPL.”
Apart from his sedate fifty in the last game against Gujarat Titans and a knock of 48 earlier in the tournament versus Mumbai Indians, Kohli has mostly struggled for runs this season.
The batting maestro has so far scored 186 runs in 10 matches at a below-par average of 20.67.
Kohli is the only player who has been with the same franchise from the very beginning of the IPL.
On his loyalty towards RCB (even though he still hasn’t won a trophy for them in the IPL), Kohli said, “To be very honest I thought about it. Yes, I won’t shy away from it and I have been approached many times as well to come into the auction somehow, put my name there and stuff.
“And then I thought about it, I was like at the end of the day everyone has X numbers of years that they live and then you die and life moves on. There would have been many great people who won trophies but no one addresses you like that. No one addresses you in the room like ‘Oh he’s an IPL champion or he’s a World Cup champion.
“It’s like if you are a good person, people like you if you’re a bad guy, they just stay away from you, and eventually that’s what life is all about.”
Kohli was just 18 when he first played for RCB in 2008. Appointed the franchise’s captain in 2011, Kohli enjoyed his best season in 2016 when he amassed a whopping 973 runs, the most by a player in a single edition of the IPL. An IPL trophy, though, continues to elude Kohli, who played in the finals of the 2009 and 2016 editions.
“For me the understanding that the loyalty with RCB like how I follow my life is far greater for me than the fact that five people in the room will say oh finally you win the IPL with whoever XYZ. You feel good for five minutes but then sixth minute you could be miserable with some other issues in the life. So it is not the end of the world for me.
“What this franchise has given me in terms of opportunities in the first three years and believed in me that is the most special thing because as I said there are many teams who had the opportunity, but they didn’t back me, they didn’t believe in me.
“So now when I am successful and I shouldn’t fall to the opinion of people saying ‘but’ the IPL. This was the case with me till 2018 England tour happened. For four years of my life, I was doing well everywhere in the world, the only thing was ‘but England’.
“So there are always going to be ‘but’, you literally can’t live your life like that and I just carry out doing my own things and I actually honestly don’t even bother about a third person beyond myself and Anushka discussing things.
“For me nothing else or no one else’s opinion matters at all.”