Virat Kohli’s contribution to a physical fitness culture in Indian cricket has been appreciated by many. The former India captain, however, has also been a strong advocate of mental fitness. In a recent interview with the Indian Express, Kohli spoke about the importance of compartmentalising, staying connected to one’s inner self and ensuring a balance to maintain one’s mental health.

“For an athlete, the sport can bring the best out of you as a player but at the same time, the amount of pressure that you are constantly under, can affect your mental health negatively. It is definitely a serious issue and as much as we try to be strong at all times, it can tear you apart,” said the 33-year-old.

In the process, he revealed how he struggled with shaking off certain feelings because of not being connected to his inner self and advised aspiring athletes to work on their physical fitness and recovery but also work on building a connection with themselves.

“My tips to aspiring athletes would be that yes, physical fitness and focus on recovery is the key to being a good athlete, but at the same time, it is crucial to consistently keep in touch with your inner self.”

He added: “I personally have experienced times when even in a room full of people who support and love me, I felt alone, and I am sure that this is a feeling that a lot of people can relate to. So, take out time for yourself and reconnect with your core self. If you lose that connection, it wouldn’t take very long for other things to crumble around you.”

In his 14-year-long international cricket career, Kohli has learnt a thing or two about navigating the highs and lows and the requisites to keep up with the pressure of being a professional athlete. Based on his experience, he advised athletes to maintain a balance.

He said: “You need to learn how to compartmentalise your time so that there’s balance. It takes practice like anything else in life, but it’s something worth investing in, that’s the only way to feel a sense of sanity and enjoyment while doing your work.”