Virat Kohli should stop taking the Aussie sledging so personally

Ranit Das
Ranit DasMar 10, 2017 | 17:44

Virat Kohli should stop taking the Aussie sledging so personally

I've been following cricket since I was a child, and if there's a rivalry, I feel, that kind of goes hand in hand with the Ashes, is the one between India and Australia. For me, it is bigger than India and Pakistan as well. Because of the stakes involved and the level at which it has been played over the years, especially since the turn of the century, is fascinating.


I was there during the famous Eden Gardens Test and I saw more than 70,000 people cheer the determined Indian side, led by Sourav Ganguly, to victory over the vicious and invincible Aussies. I've seen tempers rising and the glaring stares and everything and I would like to add that I enjoyed it, but never had I seen in my 16 years anything close to what happened after the Bengaluru Test — when banter overshadowed the "gentleman's game".

Virat Kohli has been there for quite some time now and he, to be honest, is half of what he was before in terms of anger and aggression.

'All the games worked for them as Kohli had his own "brain fade" moment in Pune.' (Credit: YouTube screengrab)

However, he has never let it get the better of him barring the odd incident in Sydney a few years back. He has always dealt with it, channeled it well and overcome the pressure as well, but somewhere I felt during the Bengaluru Test that he is really under pressure and all those talks are hitting him and the Baggy Greens are getting under his skin — something I haven't seen in his career of nine years — since the day he led India to the U-19 World Cup victory in Malaysia in 2008.


He was in stupendous form last year, scoring 1,215 runs from 12 Tests. He scored four consecutive double hundreds in four series and has been leading from the front, but in the Australia series, he only managed 40 runs from four innings. Honestly, am not looking much into it because there are no flaws in his batting or anything that is keeping him from replicating the awesome flow he showed, but what I really believe is affecting him is the "sledge fest".

We always knew that the Australians are going to come hard at us and India are going to give it back. That has been the highlight of the Kohli-Kumble era and something that all Indians have been cherishing, but one shouldn't get too caught up in that and let it affect his game — something I feel Kohli is suffering from.

Before the series, the Australians, I felt, played a fantastic card by openly saying that they don't have any plan for Kohli and they don't know yet how to contain him. That I believe was to plant the seeds of complacency, but as far as I know about Kohli, he won't let his guard down. But the mind games had begun and he responded too.


All the games worked for them as Kohli had his own "brain fade" moment in Pune and by the looks of India's batting, they followed their captain as the team was bowled out for 105 and 107 in the first and second innings respectively, and were beaten by a comprehensive margin of 333 runs in Pune.

That riled him and the team up, and he was determined for a comeback. He was hurt and that made him even more dangerous and in a mood to give it back to them.

So much so, that he would take a  jibe at every issue possible. Poor Matt Renshaw, he had to hear from Kohli about falling ill as well. But, looking at him he enjoyed the little sledging.

"I was trying to enjoy it, try and laugh at what he was saying because some of that was quite funny. He was just saying that I might need to run off and go to the toilet, which happened in Pune, so it was quite funny," said Renshaw.

That was fine. Nathan Lyon said that he was happy to get Kohli's wicket in a press conference after he got him out in the first innings.

"Virat is a world-class batter so we expect him to bounce back. But he is the head of the snake, to put it in Dale Steyn's terms, and if you can take that, the body will fall away. It was pretty pleasing to take Virat's wicket."

Okay. Now, I genuinely felt that it was a compliment of sorts, but Kohli seemed very offended. I have lost count of the times he referred to the term used and even after the match was over, he went straight to Lyon and said something in an aggressive tone (which I really think was a bit unnecessary).

Kohli's press conference that followed the Bengaluru Test was explosive — just hitting everything out of the ground — and he had all the reasons to be angry, but you could see that he was angry and was taking all that too personally.

On the other hand, Smith came out and sounded calm and composed even when the sword pointed at him, and he said, "I enjoyed the banter."

"Me and Virat were having a little chat out there. There was not much in it, so it was bit of fun, a bit of banter. That is the kind of things happen in these matches. It is nice to occasionally get engaged in such conversations. It was only good fun," he said.

Yeah, Okay! You can't really get all aggressive when the finger is being pointed at you, but he looked unfazed. On the other hand, I could see Kohli fuming and that, for me, should stop in the next two matches.

He should channelise this aggression on the field like he always has done — shut them up with his bat instead of shouting at them and throwing jibes at every possible situation.

Kohli's aggression has taken India to new heights and many people have started watching Test cricket again, but at times perhaps you should just enjoy the game and not try too hard to make miracles happen.

That I feel he is doing and the Aussies are forcing him to do it. He is playing into their hands. I think, it will help him and the team if he just plays his normal game. Because when he does, he's a treat to watch, and a nightmare to play against.

Last updated: March 10, 2017 | 17:50
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