For most of India’s New Zealand tour, Virat Kohli was the good guy. He spoke about how the New Zealanders are nice but play tough cricket. He chatted with skipper Kane Williamson by the boundary line during the final T20 game. It might not be wrong to say that he was grace personified for the early part of the tour.
But then as the results started to go south, the real Kohli emerged. He had some choice words for the crowd during the Tests and wasn’t averse to giving Williamson an on-field send-off. And then after losing the second Test, he snapped at a journalist in the post-match press conference.
The good guy had given way to peak Kohli. No one was really surprised but many felt that the Indian skipper, now a veteran in his own right, needed to tone down his aggression. But the suggestion has not gone down well will former Indian coach and current member of BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee, Madan Lal.
“I don’t understand why people in India are asking him to mellow down,” Lal told The Times of India.
Lal added: “First, everyone wanted a very aggressive captain and now you want Kohli to stop his aggressive streak. I love the way he is on the field. Earlier, people used to say that Indians are not aggressive; now that we’ve become aggressive people question that and ask why we are so aggressive. I enjoy Kohli’s aggression; we need a captain like him.”
A lot has been said about Kohli’s attitude in the past and its impact on youngsters taking to the game cannot be underestimated.
But the Indian skipper uses this anger to fuel his comeback when he is in a tough spot. In a sense, this is his method. So will a mellow Kohli lose his edge too and is that what happened in New Zealand?
For Lal, Kohli remains the best player in the world despite the poor series against New Zealand.
“He was out of form. You can say it was a loss of confidence. That [series against New Zealand] doesn’t take anything away from him. He is still the world’s best player. At times, technical flaws come in and you then try harder and harder but still you don’t come out of it. It happens to the best of players,” he said.