How Virat Kohli overcame persistent back issues

Virat Kohli has narrated his struggles from a persistent back pain in 2014 and how he overcame it with the guidance of former India strength and conditioning coach Basu Shanker. In the foreword for Shanker’s maiden book — 100, 200 Practical Applications in Strength and Conditioning — Kohli recalled how he was introduced to lifting weights by the S&C coach who helped him in becoming one of the fittest cricketers around.

“In the latter half of 2014, I found myself with a relentless back issue which was not easing off. Every morning, I had to do a routine for 45 minutes to loosen my back, but the stiffness could come back at any time throughout the day.

“It was then that Basu sir and I had a conversation around lifting weights and getting overall explosive strength in my body,” Kohli wrote.

Shanker, who worked with the national team from 2015-2019, is seen as the man responsible for the transformation of Kohli and the Indian team’s fitness.

“At first, I wasn’t convinced (about lifting), but the only thing Basu sir asked of me was ‘trust’. I had full faith in his knowledge and experience.

“I remember in our series against Sri Lanka in 2015, I started learning lifting from Basu sir, understood the dynamics and the study behind the practice and felt I was working towards something amazing.

“The results were outstanding, and that changed my perception of S&C and the importance of knowing exactly what you’re working towards.”

Kohli, who himself launched the book on social media last week, heaped rich praise on Shanker, who is currently with RCB.

“Basu sir is the best S&C coach I’ve worked with, and his ability to make you feel at ease with his template is absolutely amazing. Never have I worked with someone who knew exactly how to transform my physique and performance according to my needs, not through a set template that was common to everyone.

“I truly believe through this book, one can dive into the details and the knowledge which can surely transform your perception of what training means, change the way you do things and how you feel about your physique after following the programme to the T, as Basu sir likes to say,” Kohli added.

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