India captain Virat Kohli said that the 2014 tour of England was the lowest point in his career.
“The lowest point in my career was the England tour in 2014. That is one phase where I felt like, you know, when as a batsman you know you are going to get out in the morning when you wake up,” Kohli told Kevin Pietersen in an Instagram live chat. “That was the time I felt like that, that there is no chance I am getting runs. And still to get out of bed and just get dressed for the game and to go out there and go through that, knowing that you will fail was something that ate me up. It just demolished me completely. And I promised myself I am never going to allow myself to feel like ever again in life.”
Kohli totalled 134 runs in 10 innings on that England tour. His struggles mirrored that of India, who fizzled out after a promising start that gave them a famous win at Lord’s to take the series lead, before conceding it 3-1.
Kohli was repeatedly troubled outside the off stump, and especially had a miserable time against James Anderson’s outswingers. However, he has since learned from that experience and come out of it better, as demonstrated on India’s next tour of England, in 2018, when Kohli put behind his previous struggles to rack up 593 runs – the highest from either side – in 10 innings.
“That [2014 struggles] happened, for all the younger guys listening, because I was too focused on doing well from a personal point of view,” Kohli said. “I wanted to get runs. I could never think of what does the team want me to do in this situation. I just got too engulfed with the England tour – if I perform here, Test cricket, in my mind I’m going to feel established and all that crap on the outside, which is not important at all. It just ate me up. I just kept going into a downward spiral and I just couldn’t get out of it. Horrible.
“If you are too personal in your approach, if you are too self-centered, you are just thinking about yourself, then you are just looking for ways to get out eventually because people are going to find you out. You are not getting out of your comfort zone because you don’t want to fail.”