Spending time with family was a surreal experience: Virat Kohli

Match 6 of IPL 2024 was all about a famous Royal Challengers Bengaluru win against the Punjab Kings in front of a vehement crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The four-wicket win with as many deliveries to spare meant two things — the home teams’ dominance so far in the seventeenth edition of the IPL, with every home team winning their respective matches so far, and more importantly, a win on the board for RCB to kick things off as they seek their maiden championship.

Following his match-winning 77 against Punjab Kings, RCB’s run machine Virat Kohli opened up about his two-month break, during which his wife, Anushka Sharma, gave birth to their second child, Akaay. Notably, Kohli missed India’s home five-match Test series against England, as he and his family took some time away.

Seemingly so, Kohli enjoyed not being the focal point while being in England and said that it was quite a dreamlike sensation for his family to spend some quality time together, coupled with living like just another group of people, far away from the limelight.

“We were not in the country. We were at a place where people were not recognising us. Just time together as a family, just to feel normal for two months, for me, for us as a family, it was a surreal experience,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Receiving the Orange Cap, the star batter also sheds light upon things changing from the lens of a parent after their second child, and how they bond with the older one. The 35-year-old expressed his gratitude to god for the chance for him to spend some quality time with his family.

“Of course, having two kids, things become totally different from a family perspective. So just the ability to be together, the connections that you make with your older child, it’s amazing. I couldn’t have been more grateful to God for the opportunity that I got to spend time with my family,” added Kohli.

When you play, play your heart out, says Kohli quoting Rahul Dravid

Kohli also addressed the affection he receives from RCB supporters, particularly in Bengaluru, having been part of the franchise since the league’s inception. The star batter, having notched up his highest score in the first 15 balls of his innings in his T20 career during his consummate knock against PBKS, along with bringing up a ton of fifties in T20 cricket in the same innings, lay due emphasis on the parameters people accentuate while associating with a player during their career – the achievements, the stats, the numbers.

The 35-year-old added that at the end of the day, it was more about the memories one creates rather than the statistical achievements on the field. He also quoted team India head coach Rahul Dravid and what his take was about playing the game along with colleagues, for the fans.

“It’s been going on for years, and people talk about a lot of other things when you play sport – the achievements, the stats, the numbers. But, at the end of the day when you look back, you’re not going to think of the numbers and the stats. It’s the memories that you create,” Kohli said, before citing the Indian team head coach Rahul Dravid.

“Famously, Rahul bhai (brother) in the change room nowadays says exactly the same to us. When you play, you play your heart out because you’re going to miss these times when you’re with your friends in the change room playing in front of fans.”

After being awarded the Player of the Match award for his sterling 49-ball 77-run knock, Kohli equaled former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni’s tally of 17 awards accrued in the history of the celebrated league, while RCB got their tournament going with a win in their first home game. They will next face Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday, March 29.