Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Virat Kohli on retirement: Once I’m done, I’ll be gone. You won’t see me for a while

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For the good five or six years of the last phase of his career, Sachin Tendulkar was often surrounded by retirement talk. His age took precedence over his performance or fitness standards. This is not uncommon in a top-level athlete’s life, but it is perhaps a little more prevalent in Indian cricket. Tendulkar was not the first one, he certainly won’t be the last. Ask Virat Kohli about it.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Virat Kohli(AFP)

Kohli has shown no signs of slowing down. He is well over the lean patch that gave the doubters voice a couple of years ago and even his sternest critic would not dare to question his physical fitness and yet, you see the undertone every time Kohli has the microphone in hand.

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Till when can he go on? For how long can those scores keep coming consistently? Is he still hungry for runs? The questions change form but the inner meaning remains. And Kohli, like Tendulkar, or any other top sportsman, is well aware of it.

He, time and again, lets his eloquent self take over to reconfirm to the world that he is far from the end. But he is also not delusional to deny the horizon’s presence.

“As sportsmen, we do have an end date to our careers. I’m just working backwards,” Kohli said at an RCB event.

‘I don’t want to finish my career leaving undone business’: Virat Kohli

Is the end nearing? It is. Has Kohli already set a timeline for it? No. Currently, he only knows one thing, whenever he decides to call it a day, he will not have any regrets as a cricketer. Everyone else knows that too. In Kohli’s dictionary, the word half-hearted doesn’t exist. He’s either in it with his heart and soul or he is just not there.

“I don’t want to finish my career thinking of what if I had done this on that particular day. I can’t keep going on and on forever. It’s just about not leaving any undone business behind and not having any regrets later, which I’m very sure I won’t have,” Kohli said with a smile, but his words were enough to send his fans into emotional overdrive.

He made another promise to the fans: “Once I’m done, I’ll be gone. You won’t see me for a while, so I wanna give everything I have till the time I play, and that’s the only thing that keeps me going,” Kohli said.

It’s kinda hard to imagine Kohli away from the limelight. His presence is so strong that lying low is not even considered an option. But maybe that’s just Kohli the cricketer. As he said, when he finally decides to kiss the game goodbye, the mellowed version of his might take centre stage.

If you ask the well-wishers of Indian cricket, the later that version of Kohli appears, the better it is. The current Kohli is far from being done. 661 runs at an average of 66 scored at a strike rate of 155 in IPL 2024 is the biggest proof. But then again, does Kohli need to prove anything to anyone? Or maybe he does… to himself… every time he walks out to the field. As for the fans, it is a delight, it was a delight and it will be a delight to watch one of the greats of the game go about his business.

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