Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in world cricket today.
Sitting atop both the ICC rankings in both Tests and ODIs, Kohli is as good as they come.
I witnessed this first hand four years ago when Kohli made 169 in India’s last appearance at the Boxing Day Test, rarely looking worried by the Aussie attack consisting of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Josh Hazlewood.
His picturesque technique and rabid work ethic make him such a great batsman.
He is a passionate captain who demands respect from his opposition, holds his peers to the high standards that adheres to himself, and he carries on a bit.
I’m not slighting Virat’s ability or the job he does as captain in any way here – you a want proud, passionate individual leading your nation’s Test side.
However, he can be overly aggressive, demonstrative and a little bit sooky at times.
I’d rather that – not the sooking, but the aggression and emotion worn on his face – than players going into their shells on the biggest stage international cricket has to offer.
The dummy spit after catching Pat Cummins at slip and spiking the ball into the turf, or the over aggressive fashion in which he celebrated the wicket of Aaron Finch in the first innings were examples of what is being described as passionate.
If the Aussies did anything like that though…
“I think if we did that at the moment, we’d be the worst blokes in the world.”
Justin Langer summed it up brilliantly when discussing Kohli’s reaction to Finch’s dismissal.
The double standard sees Virat Kohli play with such passion and intensity, yet if the Australians showed that same passion… well, what JL said.
This double standard that has arisen from the ball-tampering fiasco in Cape Town has to disappear and never rear its ugly head again. It’s finished. It’s time to move on.
After two incidents (the Warner/De Kock scuffle and sandpaper gate) that centred around one person, David Warner and the others that had any involvement or responsibility regarding these incidents (Darren Lehmann, Steve Smith, Cam Bancroft et cetera) who have all been dealt with, we are completely changing our approach to the game. Let’s get back to playing cricket, the Australian way.
The way Allan Border instilled in his troops in the mid-80s when Australia was doing it rough.
He instilled grit, toughness and determination and set up a foundation for over a decade of success for the nation.
Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting all continued this trend of playing tough, intense, passionate cricket without being overly aggressive or ‘crossing the line.’
It wasn’t that Australia were disliked because they were average blokes, it was because they were good. Not everyone may have liked them, but they were respected.
But the Australians are still feeling the effects of Cape Town and are too worried about how they are perceived on the field with the ‘elite honesty’ and ‘elite mateship’ PR moniker. They should be worried about scoring runs, taking wickets and playing tough, respectful cricket.
Yet they are too busy trying to fix an image that should be applied to a few – Warner and company – and not the entire team.
Virat Kohli isn’t worried about how he’s perceived on the field. He has the backing of his board, coach, 1.35 billion fellow countrymen and the media who praise Virat for being Virat.
So why can’t we let the Australians be themselves and just focus on playing cricket?
Why can’t they let out a war-cry filled with emotion and delight when a wicket is taken, or the bowler pull out the old-fashioned Brett Lee chainsaw after rattling a batsman’s stumps.
Because they are afraid they’ll be criticised and labelled as ‘bad blokes.’ But Virat Kohli can yell and scream and celebrate aggressively cause he’s passionate. It’s the same with different labels.
So, either Virat Kohli is a really bad sport and a bit of a sook, or the Australians can show a bit of heart and passion just as the Indian skipper does.
It can’t be both.