Virat Kohli’s fitness obsession dates back to THIS tour, feels Virender Sehwag

Team India have been one of the most fittest and most agile teams in international cricket over the last few years. A lot of the credit for the turnaround has to go to skipper Virat Kohli, who leads by example both on and off the field.

These days batting and bowling form alone are not the only criteria for selection into the Indian team with the ‘Yo-Yo Test’ becoming mandatory for all cricketers called up into the national team. India captain Virat Kohli admitted that he wasn’t too pleased with the body language of the team in the second-half of the third T20I against England, which led to an eight-wicket loss.

Even when Rahul Tewatia and Varun Chakravarty failed their fitness tests ahead of the T20I series, Kohli had emphasised that there is no compromise on that ground. Kohli’s obsession with fitness is talked about all over the world, but what exactly led to this?

Former India captain and opener Virender Sehwag narrated an incident from 2011, when the Indian team had toured England and a young Kohli was part of India’s Test and limited-overs squads.

“I last toured England in 2011/12 to play two Test matches. I played one match at The Oval and one in Birmingham. All the county teams that are there, have a chart in their dressing rooms that demonstrate the standards of fitness. I think the fitness standards of this current Indian team have been picked from there,” Sehwag was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz website.

Sehwag further revealed how the players themselves were excited by the prospect of trying it out, but failed miserably upon attempting it. But somewhere in Kohli’s heart, he did not accept it, and the fitness mantra that surrounds this Indian team could well have stemmed from that failed attempt, reckons Sehwag.

“I’m saying it because back then even we were impressed with it. This much should be the weight, the mobility, the flexibility, and so on. When we tried doing it, more than half of our team failed in those tests in 2011/12,” Sehwag said.

“So I think that is what Virat Kohli has picked. If England had that standard in fitness, we should too. And ever since he’s taken over as captain, he’s stressed enough on fitness that certain tests should be cleared, and only then can we compete the best,” the former Delhi opener felt.