MUMBAI: In a declaration that is not commensurate with his current form, Virat Kohli says he is "actually" going through the "happiest phase" of his life, when he is not receptive to either success or failure.
He is "not finding any self-worth or value" in what he is doing on the field now, a far cry from the man known for his intensity and passion, things that made him a cricket icon, besides his incredible range of shots with the bat in his pomp.
Kohli has not scored a hundred in competitive cricket for nearly three years and current edition of IPL happens to be his worst. "I'm actually in the happiest phase of my life. I am not finding any self-worth or value in what I do on the field. I'm way past that phase. This is a phase of evolution for me," Kohli told Star Sports.
The former India skipper, who also gave up captaincy at Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, is enduring his worst run with the bat, leaving his millions of fans concerned. He has had a disappointing IPL-15 so far with the bat having managed only one half-century in 13 matches for RCB.
Kohli has bagged three golden ducks already this season and has managed just 200 runs at an average and strike rate that fail to define a player of his calibre. At the same time though, the 33-year-old refuses to believe that the drive is not there.
"...Not to say that I don't have the same drive, my drive will never die down. The day my drive goes away, I'll not be playing this game. But to understand that some things are not controllable, the only controllable you have are things that you can work towards, which is working hard on the field and in life as well and from that point of view, I feel that I am in the most balanced space that I have ever been and I am happy with who I am and how I am leading my life," he said.
For Kohli, on-field success or failure is increasingly becoming irrelevant. "I am not finding any source of encouragement or disappointment by what happens on the field. So, this has not been about myself, this is about the fact that I have not contributed to my team's cause as much as I would have wanted to or I pride myself to, and that is something that always disappoints me, not what I do as an individual. It's because I don't want to let my team down," he said.
Kohli's remarks are not in consonance with how the cricket world -- including his million fans -- is feeling for quite sometime now. The lack of runs from the modern great has been a cause of concern for fans and experts, with few including former India head coach Ravi Shastri imploring the cricketer to take a break from the game.
Regarded as one of the most prolific batters in modern day cricket, Kohli's last century in international cricket came way back in 2019. Since then, he has mostly struggled, and his failure to inspire his teams to title triumphs culminated in him stepping down from RCB and India's T20 captaincy and losing the post in the Test team.
Speaking about his transition from a captain to a player, Kohli said, "To be honest, it's different. I won't say it's hard because it's something that you're involved in regularly. So, the good thing is that my relationship with Faf (current RCB skipper Faf du Plessis) has always been good. We also have a leadership group in the team where we all share our inputs."
"Even on the field, when Faf is on the outfield and I am inside, I make sure to look after the fielding angles and the placement, so he's given me the liberty to adjust wherever I feel that there's a need, but always keeping him in the loop obviously. So, it's been a different way to look at the game, but because I've done it so much in the past, it's not something that I don't know how to do," he added.