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Kohli discusses mental health, marks 14 years since ODI debut

Virat Kohli, who will play in the Asia Cup, says athletes need to pay as much attention to mental strength as to fitness

In this file photo from 20 March 2021, India captain Virat Kohli walks back to the pavilion after their innings during the final Twenty20 international cricket match between India and England in Motera. He stepped down from India’s T20 captaincy after this World Cup. (AFP)

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Cricket superstar Virat Kohli took a trip down memory lane on Thursday and released a short video to mark the 14th anniversary of his debut in international cricket. The reel, posted on his official Instagram account, featured iconic moments from his career.

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On Wednesday, he had told The Indian Express in an interview that he has struggled with his mental health throughout his career. "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," he told the newspaper. Kohli will play play in the upcoming 2022 Asia Cup, which begins August 27, though he was not part of the Zimbabwe and West Indies tour.

He said athletes need to take time for themselves so that they can rest and recover. The 33-year-old former captain of the India men's national cricket team has a reputation for exemplary batting and an inspiring and aggressive form of leadership that took the team to the top of the five-day rankings. 

The comments came just months after he revealed he had struggled with depression after failing to score runs during an England tour in 2014, reports AFP. "It's not a great feeling to wake up knowing that you won't be able to score runs... I felt I was the loneliest guy in the world," he said on a podcast with English commentator Mark Nicholas in February.

The reel he shared on Instagram on Thursday, which garnered more than two million likes in five hours, illustrates the highs and lows of any sportsperson's career. On 18 August 2008, at the age of 19, Kohli made his ODI debut for India.

Kohli's caption read: "14 years ago, it all started and it's been an honour," alongside an Indian flag. On that day, Kohli had opened batting for India, facing 22 balls and scoring just 12 runs. He batted for 33 minutes at the crease before Sri Lankan bowler Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed him in the eighth over as India were beaten by eight wickets, reports ANI. He has since gone on to break numerous records, and gather 8,074 runs in Tests, with 27 centuries. 

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