From the time he was dating actress Anushka Sharma to his wedding in Italy and even now — months after the two tied the knot — prying paparazzi and public scrutiny of Virat Kohli’s life has not stopped. India’s cricket captain and the icon of the country’s youth says it can get uncomfortable, but he is learning to deal with it.
Virat and Anushka, fondly called “Virushka” by their fans, dated for four years before tying the knot in an intimate affair in Tuscany, Italy, last December.
With celebrity status comes the baggage of being under the scanner all the time. Does he find it easy?
“The constant public scrutiny about my personal life can become a bit uncomfortable at times. However, I have learnt how to handle it. Celebrities are also normal human beings — just like any other person, and I feel people should let them have their space,” Kohli told IANS in an e-mail interview.
The 29-year-old Indian cricket team captain, who endorses multiple brands including Puma, says he keeps a good balance between his personal and professional lives despite his chock-a-block schedules.
“I keep a good balance between my personal and professional life. When I am with family, I try to completely switch off from cricket. I try to catch up with friends, watch a movie or go out for a drive. I like spending time with my dog,” he said.
However, he said when he is on a tour for cricket, he puts his “mind and heart into the next game”.
“It includes regular training for fitness and skills,” added the Delhi boy, who represented the city’s cricket team at several age-group levels before making his India team debut in 2006.
On his journey from domestic cricket to becoming India captain, Kohli told IANS: “It has been an incredible journey. I come from a humble background, and my journey towards where I am today started from a colony in West Delhi.
“The road to success was not easy and I have learnt to face challenges head-on. I have come through the ranks of junior cricket, making my way to Ranji trophy and then the Indian team.”
The Padma Shri awardee cherishes being a part of the winning team during the World Cup in 2011, describing it as an “amazing experience”.
Kohli, who made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19, asserted that it was always his dream to represent India.
“From the very first day, my goal has been to play for my country, and this brings me immense pride. Standing on the cricket pitch, and seeing your countrymen cheer for you, is a happy feeling, and I enjoy every moment of it,” said the India team skipper, who also won the Arjuna Award in 2013.
With biopics on cricketers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev gaining popularity in Bollywood, does he foresee a movie on his life?
“It is not something I have thought about a lot. And if there’s one ever made, I feel it will be more of a real account of my life than a biopic,” said the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, who has launched the first performance footwear from the brand One8 for Puma.
Kohli says with One8, he wants to make sports products better.
“My experience of playing the sport at the highest level helps me provide inputs to create superior products.”
He says it’s a shoe created for cricket enthusiasts and players alike as they are light and adaptive, designed in a way to enhance performance.