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Break and friendly dressing room rekindle Kohli’s love for game

A timely break away from the game and a friendly dressing room have helped Virat Kohli rediscover his love for cricket, the star batsman said after showing fresh sign of his resurgence at the ongoing Asia Cup.

Kohli has endured a tumultuous 12 months during which he was shorn of captaincy and short of runs, which the 33-year-old said impacted his wellbeing and prompted him to skip the tours of the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

He is still not at his ball-striking best but scores of 35, 59 not out and 60 in his three Asia Cup outings suggest the right-hander, one of the premier batsmen of his era, is close to regaining his old form.

Kohli said the break gave him a new perspective.

“It has given me the kind of relaxation that this is not the be-all an end-all of life,” Kohli said after Sunday’s five-wicket defeat by Pakistan.

“I need to enjoy the game, I can’t put so much pressure on myself of expectation and all those things that I’m not able to express myself. That’s not why I started playing this game.”

“I’m happy and excited. I’m enjoying the game once again and it’s the most important thing for me.”

Having a friendly dressing room helped him rediscover the emotional connect with the game and its “purity”, Kohli said.

“When I came here, the environment was very welcoming and the camaraderie with the boys is amazing.

“So I’m absolutely loving playing all over again and feeling good with the way I’m batting.”

Kohli encouraged players to take a break should they need to address mental health.

“I know what I can do for the team when I’m in a happy place. I being in a bad place is not good either for me or for the team.

“If you feel negative or down, taking a break isn’t a bad thing.”

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