I can play for 8 to 10 years: Kohli

Longevity was Sachin Tendulkar’s domain. Virat Kohli, chasing and conquering the peaks that Tendulkar has set, aims to give himself another ten years of international cricket.

Given Kohli’s intensity to push himself, the discerning believe that he would scale unassailable heights if he lasts another decade. Tendulkar dominated the circuit for 24 years while Kohli has completed nine.

Kohli, back home after a successful tour of Sri Lanka where India swept everything in sight — three Tests, five ODIs and one T20I — was sharing his thoughts at the launch of the RP-SG India Sports Honours.

A venture, in partnership with businessman Sanjiv Goenka, the awards will honour excellence in sports with a process in place for identifying and supporting gifted athletes and sports promoters.

Badminton guru P. Gopi Chand will be in charge of the advisory committee. “Awards and rewards are important part of an athletes’ ecosystem. We have plenty of awards in films, but not so many in sports,” Gopi noted.

Skipper’s gesture

The Virat Kohli Foundation has promised ₹2 crore every year to this programme in which athletes will be tracked through a close monitoring programme.

An epitome of supreme fitness and athleticism, Kohli analysed his future in cricket. “We don’t know how far can we go until we challenge ourselves. Most times we look to limit ourselves but you need to push yourself and that is what I look to do. As a sports person, you know you can play for a specific period of time. I can play for eight to 10 years if I train harder,” the India captain said.

Kohli, thanks to his passion for other games like football, tennis and badminton, advocated respect for all sports. “To do that (develop a culture of respect for all sports) one needs platform, facility and competition of world-class levels. Other countries have a mindset about all the sports but growing up in India, I didn’t even know the rules of other sports. It is the right time to give back to sports and I hope these awards grow into a privileged event someday.”

The Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) will be an integral part of the process through which the winners will be selected. Kohli, by his choice, will not be in contention for the awards which will have the inaugural edition in Mumbai on November 11.

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