Indian captain Virat Kohli stressed on the importance of being genuine when he was asked by newly-crowned Miss World Manushi Chhillar how he would want to inspire to children who idolise him.
Kohli and Chhillar met at the CNN-News 18 Indian of the Year award show on Thursday, November 30. While the cricket star has been in the news for his on-field heroics for quite sometime, the 20-year-old Indian grabbed headlines when she became the first Indian to win the Miss World title since Priyanka Chopra in 2000.
"You are one of the best batsmen in the world today. You have been such an inspiration and you have really given a lot to society. But there are lot of young people who draw inspiration from you. How would like to give back, especially to children in the field of cricket?" Chhillar, who won the "Special Achievement" award on Thursday, asked Kohli.
Here's Kohli's reply
Kohli replied saying he had always tried to connect with people by being genuine. The 29-year-old added he never tried to change himself despite people having had issues with the way he conducted himself on and off the field.
"What's very important to understand is, when you do what you do, and you express yourself on the field, it has to be genuine, it has to be from the heart. Otherwise, people find out that you are trying to pretend and they can never connect to you. I have never tried to be anyone else. I have always been myself," Kohli, who was named the "Indian of the Year", replied.
He added: "I have always mentioned people had a lot of issues with how I was, how I conducted myself. I never had problems with that. The moment I started to think that I need to change, is the only time that I changed.
"Everyone has to go through a mutual process to be where they get to in life, to become more mature. What's very important to understand is that one should never lose their identity, character and personality. Because if you try to be someone else, you can never succeed and you can never inspire others."
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'Kohli inspires me'
Meanwhile, Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj, at the same event, said she draws inspiration from Kohli when it comes to focussing on fitness. The 34-year-old also spoke of how social media has helped women's cricket get more recognition than in the past.
"I think social media has played a huge role in popularising the game. Also all the matches were televised and that made a lot of difference. We made it to the 2005 finals as well, but now the way women's cricket will be perceived has changed," Raj said.