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Australia's problem is with Indian aggression and not just Virat Kohli

Amrut Thobbi
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
2.25K   //    05 Jan 2015, 13:10 IST
Virat Kohli Mitchell Johnson
Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson exchange words as Ajinkya Rahane looks on

Virat Kohli is on everyone’s lips in Australia. It’s not because he has almost scored 500 runs at an average of 83 hitherto in this series. It’s his aggression that irks them. So much so that he has been voted the ‘biggest sports jerk’ in a survey conducted by one of the Australian websites.

The question is why are the Australian cricketers and media obsessed with the newly-appointed Indian captain? Many say his emotional outburst in a press conference during the third Test against some of the Australian cricketers, including star fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, irked them. What happens on the field should stay on the field, they argue. True. But Kohli chose to reveal the Australian cricketers’ comments which were personal.

Australia refer to Kohli as a ‘spolit brat’

‘Spoilt brat’ was what the Australian cricketers kept remarking on day three of the third Test match. That sledge has no cricketing context nor was it said to distract Kohli from his batting. The utterance was a clear sign of frustration of the opponents who haven’t figured out how to get the talented batsman out cheaply.

Sledging aside, Kohli’s aggressive attitude on the field has clearly taken the Australian cricketers aback. In the first Test when Kohli was leading the Indian team in MS Dhoni’s absence, he displayed a positive mindset even while chasing a daunting score of 364 runs on the fifth day of the first Test in challenging conditions. India almost pulled off a remarkable win.

Despite the defeat, the 26-year-old’s go-for-it attitude was a breath of fresh air in Indian cricket. This attitude hasn’t been seen for a long time. Even when India were the numero uno in Test cricket under Dhoni’s captaincy, the team often displayed a conservative approach than play like true champions.

After winning the first Test match during the 2011 tour to the West Indies and leading the series 1-0, India could have gone for the kill in the third and final Test when they were set a target of 180 to win on the fifth day. Instead, Dhoni and his West Indian counterpart decided to shake hands after tea, ensuring a safe draw and a series win for the visitors.

Kohli’s non-conservative approach

Compare that approach to Kohli’s attitude in the Adelaide Test match. India needed 300+ runs on the last day. Conservatives would have played for a draw, and may or may not have succeeded in their approach. Not Kohli. He set out for a win from the moment he entered the crease and urged his teammates to follow suit.

That’s not the Indian way. That’s not what the Indian teams are known for. They are supposed to be polite, passive and no-nonsense visitors. That’s beyond the India stereotype. Kohli’s approach is a sign that the Indian team is ready to break the mental shackles of being mere good, polite visitors and instead inculcate a more ruthless attitude.

They also don’t like Kohli and co. sledging the Australian cricketers on the field. As far as the sledging is approached, here are some of the samples of the Australian cricketers’ behaviour on the field.

The above two videos are only two of the many which prove that the Australian cricketers are no saints on the field. The problem is they don’t like it – in cricketing parlance – if ‘someone gives it back at them’. If it’s from an Indian player or team, it’s almost illegal down under.

Regardless of how Australia and rest of the world looks at Kohli & co, the Indian team should embrace the refreshing approach and instill fear in the opposition camp, rather than behave like a lamb to the slaughter.

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Amrut Thobbi
CONTRIBUTOR
Amrut Thobbi is an editor, free-lance writer and satirist.
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