‘It’s hard to find the right balance between self-belief and arrogance’

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At the Express Adda presented by Reid & Taylor in association with Olive at Qutub in Delhi, India's brightest young cricketer and ICC ODI Player of the Year Virat Kohli spoke on a host of topics, including how he got carried away by the glamour around him during his initial days with the national team and why he wouldn't cultivate a reading habit just to impress others. In conversation with Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of the Express Group, and Sandeep Dwivedi, National Sports Editor, The Indian Express, Kohli revealed how, in the past, he couldn't muster the courage to strike a conversation with MS Dhoni and how walking in to bat during the World Cup final last year felt like going into a graveyard.

On dealing with fame as a teenager

As a youngster coming from the Under-19 team, I probably didn't know how to manage myself well and I have always admitted that. I'm glad it happened at a stage in my career when I could improve quickly. I was just taken aback by the glamour and the whole atmosphere of being with international cricketers who, about a month back, I had only dreamed of meeting. Now I had a chance of playing with them. The whole aura of the IPL got to me and I was just behaving like a regular 19-year-old. I probably lost my way for a while during that phase. I got dropped from the Indian team for the same behaviour and that's when I and people around me realised that this was turning out to be a serious issue.

On his U-turn

Actually, my coach Raj Kumar Sharma has close friends in the circuit and you know how talk goes around.

He knew about what was happening. But he wasn't willing to accept it until I got dropped. Then he sat me down and said you need to rectify what you have done. Till then I didn't feel I had done anything wrong. It got very serious and I was left out (of the national team) for one year. It hurt me real bad and after that I realised that everything else can continue on the side but cricket has to take centre stage.

... contd.

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