NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Virat Kohli was not satisfied with being an average cricketer and the India test captain says that a desire to reach the next level was his motivation for improved conditioning.
The 27-year-old is widely considered to be the fittest cricketer in the Indian side, complementing his batting with razor-sharp skills in the field.
A lean patch with the bat during the 2012 Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament acted as the catalyst for Kohli to make a "lifestyle choice".
"Until IPL 2012, I did not focus much on the physical aspect," said Kohli, who tops the world Twenty20 batting rankings and is second on the one-day international list.
"I never got into the minute details of fitness, things like what I need to eat from morning to night, how much I need to work out and how much I need to train.
"After that IPL, I started listening to my body. I made a lifestyle choice."
Kohli, who has scored 11 test hundreds and 25 one-day international centuries for India, admitted he initially did not have the fitness to be the world's best batsman.
"I wanted to explore a new side of my body to take me to the next level because I never wanted to be average," he told reporters at a promotional event in Delhi.
"I wanted to (be) best in the world. So I always had that mindset but never had the physical ability."
Kohli has often been lauded for the effort he puts into his fitness regime and he feels it has also improved his fielding as well as given him confidence.
"When you become fit, you feel you can do anything," he said. "I will give you one example. I was never a quick fielder. I was never willing to field in every position.
"But after becoming fitter, lighter and stronger, I overcame all those doubts I had. Now it (staying fit, eating right) has become second nature to me.
"I have never been as fit as I am today. It has worked beautifully for me. Even in my off-time, I watch what I eat."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)