Virat Kohli has made it a habit to produce match-winning innings under pressure. Even by his standards, however, Sunday’s knock against Australia in the win-or-perish Super 10 game was exceptional. The 51-ball 82 wasn’t a Chris Gayle-like explosion, but one of controlled aggression that emphasised a lot on singles, and more importantly doubles.
Kohli’s running between the wickets showed how fit he has become over the years. When he made his debut for Team India, he was chubby and weighed in the late seventies. Since then, Kohli has undergone a transformation, and has played a part in improving the fitness of others in the squad.
For those who have followed Kohli’s career, the explosive power in the legs that was evident on Sunday was not a surprise. Kohli’s tough fitness regimen, wherein he emphasises on explosive power and short bursts of speed, helps him do that.
Explosive power workout, which is also followed by footballers, emphasises on short sprints than long distance running at a medium-range pace. While lifting weights too, the focus is on explosive power and heart rate.
“We run very well together and that’s why you train in the gym. We have a great understanding as to where to hit the ball and how to push the fielders on the boundary ,” Kohli said after the game. “That’s why you do those fitness regimes, those sprints, and all the other tests that you go through. It all helps. I like to play for when I’m tired, I should be able to run as fast as when I’m on zero and I think that training paid off today.”
Even captain MS Dhoni acknowledged the benefits of explosive power workout and said that it keeps you ready.
Indian leg-spinner Rahul Sharma says that Kohli certainly works a lot on his fitness. “He is one of those cricketers who when developed the liking for gym and fitness, got a fabulous gym at home. When he is in the ground, he runs for a while but gives a lot of emphasis on agility training and speed work out. When you focus on such regimes, you tend to develop a lot of explosive strength. Also he keeps a check on his diet and ensures he is not having fat and carbohydrates,” said Sharma.
With T20 cricket getting tougher and faster, the need to be fit has become more important than ever. Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Yuzvendra Chahal too says that the India batsman follows a strict routine. “In IPL, because of the schedule, players generally don’t have enough time to do the ground training but with Kohli, he takes time out and completes his work out.”