New Delhi: Even as the world looks in awe at Virat Kohli’s physical transformation over the last couple of years and its direct impact on his game, childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma recollects days when butter chicken, kathi rolls and mutton rolls would be the Indian skipper’s staple diet.
Speaking to CricketNext, Rajkumar says that while athletes and pundits across the world admire Kohli’s work ethics and fitness regime, the coach just admires the sacrifices that the Delhi boy has made in order to reach the pinnacle.
“In fact, he is so particular about his diet, that even when he comes over to my place, he won’t have packaged juices. You either give him fresh fruit juice or you don’t. Carbs are a strict no-no and there are no binge days in his routine anymore,” he revealed.
But for Rajkumar, more than the diet and the fitness regime, it is the dedication with which Kohli sticks to the routine that the coach is proud of.
“See, it is easy to do these things for a short or particular span of time. But to make it a constant routine and life style is what makes me proud. The kind of sacrifices he has made at this young age is something that even we can’t at our age.
"It takes a lot of devotion and focus to restructure your lifestyle to this extent. He has cut down on carbs and doesn’t even have rotis now. It is either grilled or boiled food for him. Even his coffee is without sugar and definitely no packaged juices for him," he said.
Asked about the transition from another talented youngster to this mean run-machine, Rajkumar doesn’t want to credit himself alone. The coach feels that credit should also be given to the trainers who work with Kohli in the Indian team.
“In the last two or three years, he has taken fitness and his eating habits to a different level. He takes it so seriously that he got a gym built in his new house. He has this belief that fitness is very important if you have to succeed in international cricket. And his only goal in life is to keep raising the bar,” he said.
Rajkumar feels that the fitness regime is one of the major reasons for the success that Kohli has achieved in recent times.
“Talent was never a problem with Kohli, but then, the effect of the gruelling fitness regime is that he has more stamina and can keep picking the singles and doubles and turn the singles into doubles. He doesn’t tire down and hence the need to play risky shots go out of the equation. Whatever be his work schedule or travel scene, he always finds time to hit the gym,” he signed off.