Indian captain Virat Kohli interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 'Fit India Dialogue' on Thursday, where he talked about the importance of fitness in daily lives. Kohli, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, also gave insights on his own experience with the transition to importance of fitness over the years in cricket.
Thank you for inviting us to this Fit India dialogue. We experience the benefits of fitness in our daily lives.
In the interaction with PM Modi, Virat Kohli said that he experienced the need for fitness levels to be better in his initial playing days.
"I experienced a transition. In the era when I started playing cricket, the demands of the game were changing very quickly. Our fitness routines weren't fit for the demands of the game and we needed to change. We were short from fitness point of view, the skills were not an issue," Kohli told the Prime Minister.
"I experienced a self-realization on fitness, that it should be a priority. I realised that I needed to improve on my fitness. Now, the priority on fitness is such that I won't mind losing training sessions but I feel bad when I lose fitness session."
PM Modi pointed out that Virat, who hails from Delhi, must be missing the delicious foods of the city, naming 'Chhole Bhatoore' in particular, to which Virat chuckled and said that he had to sacrifice the food to maintain his fitness levels.
"I miss the chhole bhatoore in Delhi so much! But I never experienced health issues with our native diet. My grandmother is so healthy and she always used to eat homemade food. I, on the other hand, had city food because we travel everywhere. We used to eat out and some food items were unhealthy. So that made me realise that fitness is important," said Kohli.
"If we don't improve our fitness, we would be far behind in terms of our game too. Our brain and body fitness works together."
The Indian captain further pointed out that in daily lives, it is important to keep fitness priority, instead of weight loss.
"Important to give time in between food intake. We eat heavy food in our daily lives, and in between, we continue to have other food intakes. We don't allow our system to process the food. There is no activity in between food intake. These small things are important, you need to give time for body to process food," said Kohli.
"It is important to keep priority - if you're doing it for weight loss or fitness."
The Indian captain said that despite the significant improvement in fitness levels among the Indian team members, the side still lags behind the other international sides on the same. He pointed it out in reply to PM Modi's question on the need of Yo Yo Tests in Indian cricket setup.
"It (Yo Yo Test) was very important. Our level in fitness in comparison to other teams is still low. Yo Yo Tests were a basic requirement," said Kohli.
"The T20Is and ODIs last only one day but the Test match is of five days, so the fitness standard from that point of view is important. Even I won't be available for selection if I fail the test. It is important to set the fitness culture. It improves overall culture of the side," said the Indian captain.
"Our fast bowlers are the best in the world. Now, they can put the same effort in even the third or fourth day of the match."
Kohli insisted that good daily routine is important to have less tiredness and quick recovery. "We do get tired. But if you have good lifestyle, eat good food, have good sleeping patterns, then you will have good recovery. Lifestyle is very important," said the Indian captain.