Virat Kohli on Saturday termed the relentless trolling of Ravi Shastri as agenda driven, saying the India coach is least affected by perception that he is the captain’s yes man. Kohli mentioned all that Shastri did as a player in his scathing riposte to the current coach’s critics.

“I think most of these things are agenda driven and I don’t know whose, why, what for, but to accept lies in that manner, it couldn’t be anything but agenda driven,” Kohli told India Today during a show.

“... In Ravi bhai’s case, luckily, he is a person that doesn’t care at all,” he said.

Starting out as a slow left-arm spinner, Shastri went on to open the innings for India and also won the famous ‘Champion of the Champions’ Award in the 1985 World Series Cricket.

“(Shastri got promoted from) number 10 to opener and got an average of 41 as an opener, he is not going to be bothered about someone sitting at home and trolling him, because if you want to troll a guy who has done that, then get up, face those bowlers, do what he has done, have the clarity to do it, have the courage to do it, then have a debate with that guy,” Kohli said.

“He is absolutely chilled out, he says our only focus is how we can be the best team of all time. I think these petty things on the outside, they don’t matter at all to him,” he added.

After the rout of Bangladesh in the Test series recently, Kohli called his fast bowling arsenal as a dream combination that can torment any opposition on any kind of surface. This was done without Jasprit Bumrah.

The skipper said there is always bonhomie among his fast bowlers, not an iota of insecurity despite all the successes and the intense competition.

“There is no jealousy at all and that is their biggest strength, they don’t care whether Shami is at 7 now or Jassi is at whatever ranking he is or Ishant,” Kohli said.

“I think full credit has to go to them to these guys that they have been able to create this aura around them because of that friendship that belief and the intent being in the right place.”

Kohli has made a habit of creating records, something that has often drawn comparisons with his idol Sachin Tendulkar.

Commenting on comparisons, he said, “Well I don’t know how to explain it I mean I just hate losing. Basically I hate losing in anything, that is how a sportsman is made up, that is the makeup of any sportsman competing at the highest level,” he said.

He added, “I don’t want any maybe, I don’t what any ifs, when I walk on to that field it is an honour for me, and when I walk out I want to have zero energy left. I’m actually always trying to avoid that feeling and that’s why I go along about my work in a crazy manner. I just have to put all my effort into every ball that I play, field or I am a part of.”

‘Anushka is a soft target’

Kohli added to Anushka Sharma’s recent comments that she is unfairly targetted in matters involving the Indian team.

The 81-year-old Farokh Engineer was reported to have said recently that he saw one of the selectors serve tea to Sharma during the World Cup in England. The former Indian player later said his comments were misconstrued.

Full text: Anushka Sharma hits out at being targetted for matters involving Kohli and Indian team

The 31-year-old captain was surprised by the allegations and said dragging her name was not right.

“She came for one World Cup game against Sri Lanka and the family box and the selector box was different, and there was no selector in that box. She came with two friends. As I said, she is known, she’s been successful at a very high level so when people take her name, it gets noticed,” Kohli said.

“You want to mention something about the selectors do that, but why join her name with it. When the lies are spoken so much all around, they start becoming truths. So you need to speak up at some stage and that’s exactly what happened recently,” he added.

Kohli said his wife’s value system would never allow her to do anything wrong.

“So much has been said about her and so much comes out about her. The value system that she has and her beliefs and the nature she has, it won’t allow her to go against rules and protocols. So I don’t know why people have wanted to sensationalise stories by taking her name because she’s a soft target. We both had been ignoring it for a while,” Kohli said.

(with PTI inputs)