Two days after former Australia captain Greg Chappell termed Virat Kohli ‘the most Australian non-Australian cricketer of all time’, another Aussie skipper Allan Border lavished praise on the Indian captain’s aggressive demeanour.
Old-school Indian cricket fans were taken aback by a 19-year-old Virat Kohli, who burst onto the scene with spiked hair and tattoos over his arms. Not everyone was impressed by Kohli’s attitude then, but the Delhi lad has left one and all awestruck with his batting and passion over the years.
During a virtual media interaction from Sydney, Allan Border echoed a similar sentiment. He labelled Virat Kohli as the “new Indian cricketer” for having brought about an unprecedented change in the mindset of Indian players and their body language on the field.
“We just love the way he plays his cricket. I mean he’s passionate. You can just see it in his body language out on the ground. He lives and breathes every minute; he’s out there; he just loves it. And there’s a bit more...he talks to his own players obviously, but also to opposition players," Border said while answering a question by Sportskeeda.
“He’s just in the contest, more so than a lot of other Indian players that we’ve seen in the past. And he’s what we talk about in this country as the ‘new Indian cricketer’,” he added.
Talking about firsts, Virat Kohli became the first captain from Asia to win a Test series Down Under when India clinched the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. Notably, he boasts of a win percentage of 64.17 across formats (highest among all Indian captains), having led the country to 120 wins out of 187 games he has taken charge in.
‘Virat Kohli is just a really popular guy in the shores for obvious reasons,’ says Border
Virat Kohli’s love affair with Australia started when he smashed his maiden Test hundred at the Adelaide Oval in the 2011-12 season. Fans started to admire the youngster even more when he recorded a century in each innings at the same venue in 2014. The close contest was also his first Test as captain.
1987 World Cup-winning skipper Allan Border acknowledged that Virat Kohli is a popular figure Down Under, not just due to his hunger for runs but also for having an attitude and personality similar to that of Aussies.
“You know he’s got tattoos; he’s out there; he’s married to a Bollywood actress. And he’s a very feisty competitor, and not to say that other Indian cricketers aren’t like that. But he just wears his heart on the sleeves," Border continued.
“That’s why we think he plays his cricket a bit more like we tend to...He’s just a really popular guy in the shores for obvious reasons. He’s a seriously good player, that’s a good start but we like that passion he brings to the game,” Border, who scored 17,698 runs in 156 Tests and 273 ODIs, reasoned.
The four-match Test series between India and Australia starts with a pink-ball game at Virat Kohli’s favourite hunting ground – the Adelaide Oval – from December 17. However, the 32-year-old will miss the next three matches to attend the birth of his first child in India.
Watch the Border-Gavaskar Test series from December 17, 8:30 am onwards, Live and Exclusive only on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels.