Fierce competitor, world beater, top cricketer. All of these Virat Kohli is when he takes the field. But, off it, according to Moeen Ali, “he’s so humble it is almost weird how nice he is.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Ali, Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate, said that despite being the biggest name in Indian cricket, he is down to earth.
“You see him on the field and people might think he’s arrogant but it is the complete opposite. He’s so humble it is almost weird how nice he is. He’s the biggest name in India but will ring me to check I’m OK or ask if I fancy lunch.”
“Sometimes a player will invite the squad to their house for a meal and it would be easy for him to say no. But he would always go. I can say with certainty that anyone who has a bad word doesn’t know the guy,” he said.
Another Englishman in the team, Chris Woakes, concurred with Ali, adding that Kohli is someone with whom “you can chat about anything” off the field.
“In my first year of IPL I found as an overseas player you get a lot of attention walking through airports in India,” said Woakes. “But having him in the team – the No 1, the king – we’re almost irrelevant.”
Woakes believes the Indian skipper’s county stint with Surrey (to prepare for the Test series against England) – where, for a change, he’ll play in smaller grounds and perhaps not in front of huge, raucous crowds – will be a relaxing experience.
“I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be a lot of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think they are a big dog, they will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming,” Ali warned in jest.