An aggressive Virat Kohli is giving it back, but what about the Indian team?
Mistakes were made in Perth. From selection, to approach in the game, to tactics.
Updated - Jan 6, 2019 5:55 pm
Virat Kohli drives a ball down the ground, saunters across for a run, he need not have, the ball thuds into the boundary and the 25th century is raised. He takes off his helmet, chucks it to the ground, points at his bat and yaps off with his gloves – ‘bat does the talking’ is what he meant.
Not when he is on the field. His mouth does the talking as it has been doing all these years. Australians have dished out plenty in the past, they are receiving quite a barrage from the Indian captain. Rishabh Pant blurts out few statements from behind the stumps, has a scorn to his voice and then drops a catch off a spinner.
He keeps quiet for the rest of the match. KL Rahul wants to pick up a vocal battle with the opposition captain, he might well be on his way back home for the lack of runs.
While Kohli talks, he also performs, while Kohli talks, he scores runs, but what about the team?
Now the Australian media has sensed blood. They are portraying Kohli as the villain, the man who needs schooling, the man who gets away with ‘inappropriate’ behaviour because he is well, Kohli. Former Australian cricketers, who are now sitting on a pedestal after they were involved in ugly skirmishes all through the life, are giving sermons on how to behave. One can scorn at it, one can not even look towards it, but one has to understand the ecosystem at play here.
“I was silly to pick up fights earlier, now will focus on my own game”. Kohli had said before the tour started. ‘Elite honesty’ which is currently ruling the way Australians are supposedly playing the game meant that they will not indulge in ‘sledging’. So why this sudden turn of events.
It is because an Indian, and Indians were always the target of banter, is dishing a few and he is scoring runs while at it and he is the leader of the side and face of the richest cricket board in the world. These things cannot be processed easily by the ‘high and mighty’ Australians who always find the line, which was never existent in the first place.
Border supports Kohli
So when Allan Border supports Kohli, Darren Lehmann, the man who was blamed for fostering a rather toxic atmosphere which extrapolated into the ‘winning at all cause’ syndrome says Kohli is good for the game, you understand which way the coin is spinning. There seems to a polarised opinion, for Mitchell Johnson finds it silly and disrespectful, and the same Mitchell Johnson fired volleys at players like morning prayers when he played.
These outside waves can be countered by closing everyone in a shell. But here lies the fear for the Indian team. Ravi Shastri is loud, vocal, and quite unabashed. He along with Kohli have misread conditions a lot over the past year and despite all the panache, the results have not come India’s way. It is all well and good being boisterous, but when results are fickle, the very same attitude becomes thorny. It is what is plaguing the Indian team.
Mistakes were made in Perth. From selection, to approach in the game, to tactics. Hence, when the game was over, when the Indians fell flat, the captain should have raised his hand and said: ‘we read conditions wrong’.
Instead, Kohli said that when they saw the pitch on the morning, they were convinced about the nature of the attack. This could be a problem, trickling down into players, who may believe that it is alright to commit errors as long as you hold a brave face and be bold in your statements.
Perhaps, Kohli tends to overstep the line, perhaps the analysis of all his expressions are on steroids, perhaps it is a bit of both. We really do not know, but what we do know is that India have not been winning a lot and clipping wings of this bravado may well be what the doctor ordered for the side.