Shastri: 'Overcooked' Kohli needs a break from cricket before or after England tour
Kevin Pietersen echoes Shastri, saying the batter will find it "hard to continue delivering now as his brain is completely fried"
Former India captain Virat Kohli is mentally "overcooked" and needs to take a break from cricket in order to serve the country for at least another six-seven years, feels Ravi Shastri, the former India head coach.
Kohli, 33, has been going through a lean patch in the ongoing IPL, with just two 40-plus scores in his last seven innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Shastri is of the view that Kohli needs to be handled with empathy amid the Covid-19 restrictions which have confined players to bio-bubbles.
"I am going straight to the main guy here. Virat Kohli is overcooked. If anyone needs a break, it's him," Shastri told Star Sports on Tuesday. "Whether it's two months or a month and a half, whether it's after [the] England [tour in July] or before England - he needs a break because he has got six-seven years of cricket left in him and you don't want to lose that with a fried brain."
Kohli hasn't scored a century in the last 100 matches across formats and, in the past seven months, stepped down from T20 captaincy - both for India and Royal Challengers - as well as quit Test leadership and was removed from the ODI captain's position.
In IPL 2022, Kohli was out for a duck on Tuesday night as Royal Challengers rode Faf du Plessis' 96 to clinch an 18-run win over Lucknow Super Giants.
"When I was [India] coach at the time when this first started, the first thing I said is, 'You have to show empathy to the guys,'" Shastri said. "If you're going to be forceful, there is a very thin line there, from a guy losing the plot as opposed to him hanging in there and giving his best. So you have to be extremely careful."
Shastri said there might be one or two players in world cricket going through the same problem which needs to be addressed up front. Echoing the same sentiment, former England captain Kevin Pietersen said Kohli should take time away from the game as well as social media to rejuvenate himself.
"...the guy has had so much to deal with, from marriage to baby to media scrutiny and all on his personal life. He is the biggest star on show," Pietersen said. "Virat Kohli needs to say, 'Cricket boots, for six months, I will see you later.' Turn off social media, go and get re-energised.
"When the stadiums are full again, you guarantee him a spot in that side for the next 12, 24 or 36 months. Tell him, 'You're our guy. We know you'll deliver for us.'" Pietersen said Kohli "is going to find it very hard to continue delivering now as his brain is completely fried."