Indian captain Virat Kohli has revealed that he felt like the ‘loneliest man on the planet’ during the nightmarish 2014 Test series in England.
Virat Kohli had scored Test hundreds in Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand when he turned up in England in 2014 and the Test series against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in seaming conditions was being pipped as the champion batsman’s last frontier.
However, Kohli struggled throughout the five Tests against the swinging Dukes, managing just 134 runs in 10 innings. Following his failure to counter English conditions, questions were raised on Virat Kohli’s ability to bat against the moving ball.
Virat opened about the mental issues that he faced during that forgettable series during an interaction with Mark Nicholas on his “Not Just Cricket’ Podcast.
“It’s not a great feeling to wake up knowing that you won’t be able to score runs and I think all batsmen have felt that at some stage that you are not in control of anything at all,” Virat Kohli said.
“You just don’t understand how to get over it. That was a phase when I literally couldn’t do anything to overturn things. I felt like I was the loneliest guy in the world,” he added.
Virat Kohli, who termed the 2014 England tour as the lowest point of his career, remembers feeling alone despite having established himself as a key member of the side by then.
In hindsight, the Indian captain feels that he needed psychological help which he did not seek at the time.
“Personally, for me that was a revelation that you could feel that lonely even though you a part of a big group. Won’t say I didn’t have people who I could speak to but not having a professional to speak to who could understand what I am going through completely, I think is a huge factor,” Virat Kohli said.
He further added that he would like to see the involvement of mental health professionals with the cricket team as it would allow young cricketers to seek help. especially during long tours.
“I think I would like to see it change. Someone whom you can go to at any stage, have a conversation around and say ‘Listen this is what I am feeling, I am finding it hard to even go to sleep, I feel like I don’t want to wake up in the morning. I have no confidence in myself, what do I do?,” Virat Kohli added.
“Lot of people suffer with that feeling for longer periods of time, it carries on for months, it carries on for a whole cricket season, people are not able to get out of it. I strongly feel the need for professional help [to be] there to be very honest,” he added.
As it turned out, the 2014 Test tour of England proved to be a watershed moment in the career of Virat Kohli. His Test career took a different trajectory post the struggles in the summer of 2-14. A few months later, he went to Australia and smashed four hundred in a single series and never looked back after that. In 2018, Virat successfully exorcised his demons of the 2014 tour as he smashed 593 runs across 10 innings in England with the help of two hundred.