Aggression is almost as if its the middle name of Indian captain Virat Kohli. Under the weight of being the leader across formats and also the senior batsman, a statesman has emerged out of the 31-year-old cricketer, but every now and then, when poked or under pressure, the aggressive Kohli springs out to confront his adversaries.
On similar lines, during India's recent tour of New Zealand, Kohli, while adressing a gathering at the Indian High comission in New Zealand, spoke about how he wouldn't mind sharing the No 1 spot in ICC Test Rankings for teams with the Black Caps. However, with India staring at 2-0 defeat in the subsequent Test series, a more confrontational Kohli was on display rather than the convivial one.
The Indian captain was seen indulging in some on-field verbal contests, most notably with Kiwi opener Tom Blundell, and decided to give it back to certain sections of the crowd as well.
In the second Test at Hagley Oval, with India headed towards another defeat after losing the Wellington Test, Kohli, who had a woeful tour of New Zealand with the bat, was seen leading some exaggerated wicket celebrations. He even gestered and mocked a section of the crowd for drinking. Kohli was also caught by cameras launching a foul-mouthed abuse towards the spectators as the Indian captain let his frustrations boil over.
Even the celebration of Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson's dismissal was deemed to be over-the-top by many. In the post-match press conference, when Kohli was asked about the incident by a local journalist, the Indian captain fired back at the scribe, saying, "If you are looking for controversy, this isn't the right place to do it."
Those incidents has not met the approval of many, with consensus from several quarters being that Kohli needs to tone down his aggression. But BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee member Madan Lal, a member of 1983 World Cup-winning side, is completely against the suggestion.
In an interview to Times of India, Lal said, “I don’t understand why people in India are asking him to mellow down.” He 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.”
Kohli game is built around aggression and it is that one element that has allowed him to grow as a cricketer over the time despite facing multiple challenges. Him being the captain of the side, even more responsible behaviour is expected out of the cricketer, however, it's never smart to get away from your own natural game. Perhaps Kohli needs to more work more on striking a balance between calmness and aggression.
His dominating nature also had its impact on the structure of senior national team with enough being written about how he forced former head coach and cricketing legend Anil Kumble out of the role due to the difference in their views. Such an aggressive character is also expected to have his influence over the selectors.
It remains to be seen how new chairman of selectors Sunil Joshi functions along with Kohli. Lal, who was part of the CAC which picked Joshi, along with RP Singh and Sulakshna Naik, to lead the role and the former cricketer banked on his experience to make a case for Joshi in the role.
"I was also the chairman (of selection committee) when Sachin (Tendulkar) was the captain, then Azhar (Mohammed Azharuddin) was the captain. I didn't have to be subdued in front of them. It's alright. We've picked him; let's see how he takes up the task," said Lal.
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