Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli revealed about his battle with depression during the 2014 tour of England. Image Credit: Reuters

Kolkata: A nightmarish time in Virat Kohli’s career came during the tour of England in 2014, where he averaged a miserable 13.50 in his 10 Test innings. What was hitherto unknown was the kind of acute psychological slump he had gone into then - something the strongman of Indian cricket revealed in a recent chat.

“Personally, for me that was a revelation that you could feel that lonely even though you are a part of a big group. I 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. I think I would like to see it change,” Kohli said in a conversation with veteran cricket commentator Mark Nicholas in the latter’s podcast - stressing on the need of professional help under such circumstances.

Admitting for the first time that he had then gone into depression, the India captain said that players often get dropped after going through a bad patch of form but that is not a solution for those suffering from poor mental health.

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“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,” Kohli said.

“The only alternative left after that is that, the guy dropped from the team but that doesn’t solve the issue. It’s a very serious condition that should be dealt in detail with very carefully and I strongly feel the need for professional help there. Otherwise you are just left to figure things out on your own and more so as men, you are just expected to toughen up and get over it. Sometimes people are not able to do that,” he further said.

Kohli scored 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0,7, 6 and 20 in five Tests, averaging 13.50 in his 10 innings - his lowest in a series involving three or more Tests.

“...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,” he 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,” Kohli added.