The former India captain was going through his worst lows of his career and the international century drought had worsened the matter for him. But following a break, Kohli made a thunderous return in Asia Cup, scoring his maiden T20 century before casting his spell at the MCG against Pakistan at the 2022 T20 World Cup, en route to his unforgettable campaign Down Under. The images of that innings and of those iconic sixes remain vivid and the videos are still watched by ardent followers. But remains a topic of curiosity for experts, the silenced critics and fans as to what and how things are truly unfolded in Kohli’s mind. And the India star would say was “I still can’t make any sense of it”.
A year back after the humiliation in Dubai where India had lost by 10 wickets against Pakistan before being knocked out of 2022 Asia Cup by the arch-nemesis in September, the Men in Blue found themselves in hard water in the over after powerplay during their chase. An unfortunate mix-up led to Axar Patel’s dismissal and India were 31 for 4 in 6.1 overs.
A disciplined Pakistan attack had kept India under control with Kohli struggling to find the gaps as well. But the 2007 champions remained resilient as well with Kohli and Hardik Pandya stitching a 113-run stand. And it was during this partnership when Kohli changed gears, leading to that turning point in the chase with that iconic six against Haris Rauf smashed down town. The 33-year-old’s unbeaten 82 eventually guided India to a memorable win against Pakistan.
Speaking at a PUMA event, Kohli was asked to recall that knock in Melbourne and he admitted that still doesn’t know what had truly unfolded. He explained that he was under so much pressure that he had zoned out at the halfway mark and hence paid no heed to head coach Rahul Dravid’s advice at break.
“I still can’t make any sense of it. That’s a very honest admission. And a lot of people have tried to ask me what were you thinking, how did you plan and I have no answers. The fact of the matter is that I was so much under pressure that my mind had shut off completely by the 12th or 13th over.
“I was going through what I was going through, then I came back in Asia Cup and I was playing well and I felt like wow I’m ready to play to play in this World Cup. At the 10th over mark, we were 31 for 4 and I had just ran Axar out. I was 12 off 25, or something. I remember in the break, Rahul bhai came to me and I don’t remember what he said. I swear and I even told him this as well. I told him, ‘I have no idea what you told me in that break because I was zoned out’,” he said.
The veteran India batter admitted that with his mind completely shutting down, his instincts had taken over during that knock of ages. He believes that it was a once in a lifetime experience for him and that it is unlikely to happen again in his career.
“My mind was spinning so fast…I was like this is worse that it was before. I had spiralled down so far down that there is no comeback from here and that was my honest feeling at the halfway mark. That is when my instinct took over. So when I stopped thinking and planning, whatever God-given talent I have that came to the surface and then I felt like something higher was guiding me. I can’t claim any of that. I was trying to do it before as well but it wasn’t working. The lesson for me was stop using your mind so much because it actually pushes you away from real magic. What happened that night, I can never explain it and it won’t happen ever again.”