Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is an icon both on the pitch as well as off it and he is currently creating awareness about the need for kids to go out and play any sport that they like. He spoke about the sport that he is passionate about, apart from cricket in an exclusive chat with CNN-News18's Meha Bhardwaj Alter. Here is a transcript of the interview.
Meha: What was your reason for coming out with One8 brand?
Virat Kohli: The reason was to have the freedom which would allow me to do things or ventures which will have a positive impact on society in general. It could be anything. But to be able to show the people the right way, if at all possible, with all the capabilities I have. And the thing which we are doing with Puma is a very personal thing. That is to bring fashion into sports.
Meha: How can we change the typical Indian mindset about sports?
Virat Kohli: A particular sports is shown to the child in terms of how he or she could make a career out of. I think focus on the financial aspect of sports has to stop from such an early age. A child must be allowed to explore so that he or she can realise which sports they are keen at learning, and whether they want to make it a career option or not. Gone are the days when one or two sports used to dominate the scenario. Hockey has come about and football is picking up so much. Kabaddi is also amazing to watch. Those sports were always there but maybe they never had the platform.
Meha: What are your fond memories of playing a sport, especially in the school days?
Virat Kohli: I used to play all sports maybe I knew cricket is my passion and I wanted to make it my career
Meha: What was that one sport that other than cricket you wanted to play?
Virat Kohli: Probably Badminton. My closest friend was a state level badminton player. So, I used to compete with him and got to learn a lot about the sport.
Meha: Can we see you on a badminton court with Sindhu or Saina or Srikanth?
Virat Kohli: Yes, why not. Those are amazing players. The whole idea is to motivate people to come out and play. I am not asking them to play cricket but maybe learn a particular sport professionally. It is a basic necessity from the physical and mental health point of view of a child. These days technology has taken over people's daily lives and they are not physically active, and that's why health concerns are cropping up on a daily basis. We must try and create as much awareness about that.
Meha: Do sports help in improving decision making or grooms one as a leader?
Virat Kohli: Nothing in my life has taught me more than sports. Personally it has helped me to understand the mindset and the challenges that life will present in front of you. No book or textbook would have taught me that. For instance, you learn about team bonding, about friendship and there are so many things.
Meha: One sportsperson you have looked up to?
Virat Kohli: I think Leander Paes in India just because of his longevity & the amount of time that he has been around, and globally of course Roger Federer is my personal favourite because of what he has achieved and been able to maintain for so long.