Rahul Dravid cautions youngsters against copying Virat Kohli, says everyone must be true to themselves
What's the story?
Perturbed by the manner in which young kids in the country are blindly copying Virat Kohli's aggressive demeanour, legendary Indian batsman Rahul Dravid has implored the next generation to stay true to their natural persona.
The 44-year old went on to reveal that the current Indian captain's brash pre-series statements make him 'cringe'.
"People ask me why I didn’t behave like Virat when I played for India. I would have been inauthentic to myself had I gotten tattoos and behaved like Virat. Sometimes, before an Australia series, Virat says the most outrageous things. I read it in the newspaper and cringe," Dravid said at the Bangalore Literature Festival.
However, he clarified his stand by adding, "But then, I feel that he wants that tough contest, and wants that lip on the field, because it gets the best out of him. You can’t blame him, because it works so very well for him. But that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Ajinkya Rahane, for example, is very different. What worries me is that a lot of young kids tend to copy Virat, without realising that they are not being authentic to who they really are."
With his in-your-face nature and attacking mindset, Kohli has rapidly grown in stature over the last few years to become the most popular sportsperson in India. Unlike the previous generation of stalwarts who preferred to let their bat do the talking, the Delhi dasher thrives on gamesmanship and lifts his batting up several notches when opponents try to get under his skin.
The heart of the matter
Kohli's belligerence played a key role in turning the 2017 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy into one of the most fiercely contested as well as acrimonious Test series seen in recent times.
Even as the visitors were intent on being a competitive unit on conditions outside their comfort zone, the Kohli-led Indian team looked to give Australia a dose of their own medicine by persistently indulging in verbal skirmish.
Following the conclusion of the Test series which saw India reclaiming the coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Australian skipper Steven Smith offered to mend bridges between the two teams and even went on to issue an unconditional apology on the visitors' behalf.
However, Kohli did not relent and asserted that his personal friendships with the Australian players were over. When the Aussies visited Indian shores for a limited-overs tour during September-October, both sets of players focused only on the game and veered away from unnecessary controversies.
Kohli's next assignment will be the upcoming 3-match T20I series against New Zealand. The first game is scheduled to take place at his home venue of Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Dravid is currently preparing the Indian colts for the 2017 U-19 Asia Cup in Malaysia between November 9 and 20.
In sharp contrast to his trademark diplomacy, Dravid seems to have spoken his mind this time around. The revered batting icon is spot on with his assessment as young kids need to try and form their own identities instead of blindly following Kohli's lead.
That being said, the 28-year old's aggressive disposition seems to be working wonders for him at the moment.