India women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj on Thursday said her men's team counterpart Virat Kohli inspires her when it comes to focusing on fitness.
Kohli has worked his way to become one of the fittest cricketers in the world. The results of his hard work are there to be seen as the Delhi batsman has been scoring runs consistently despite playing continuous cricket over the last few years.
The skipper's supreme fitness levels seem to have inspired his teammates to adopt a similar regime. Focusing on finer details when it comes to fitness has also helped Indian team's fielding, an area which has helped Kohli's men produce positive results consistently across all formats.
Yo-yo fitness test, which assesses the aerobic endurance, has become mandatory and even the seniors in the team have been pushing themselves to clear it.
"There are so many people who inspire me every day, not one person. But if I do have to name someone, it's got to be Virat Kohli, for bringing the focus on fitness. Be it the men or women, everyone wants to be the best in international cricket," Mithali, who led India to the final of Women's World Cup 2017, said during CNN-News 18's Indian of the Year 2017 award show.
Kohli had revealed how a poor Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign in 2017 helped him change his training and fitness regime and a chat with the then India coach Duncan Fletcher, who had told him 'cricket is the most unprofessional of professional sport,' motivated him.
What inspired Kohli to focus on fitness
Notably, the 29-year-old opened up on how difficult it was initially to follow a strict diet as he had forced himself to stay away from gluten, wheat, cold drinks and desserts. He also added that he had adopted an intense workout pattern from 2015 and that it became addictive after improved results on the field.
"My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset. The season [IPL 2012] ended and I was so thankful it was over. I went home, came out of the shower one day and looked at myself in the mirror and said you can't look like this if you want to be a professional cricketer," Kohli told The Telegraph India last year.
He added: "For the first two months I felt I wanted to eat the bed sheet when I went to sleep because I was so hungry. I was craving taste. I was craving delicious food. But then I saw the results. I felt quick around the field. I would wake up in morning and feel like I had energy."
"From 2015 I changed my training again. I started lifting, snatching, cleaning and deadlifting. It was unbelievable. I saw the result. I remember running after a ball in a Test series in Sri Lanka and I felt more power in my legs. It was, like, 'wow'. This training is addictive. The last year-and-a-half it has taken my game to another level."