Former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has advised India skipper Virat Kohli to take some time off from the game after the heated series against Australia.
The 28-year old was at the centre of controversy throughout the series and was consistently targeted by the Australian media and the Australian players. With Virat Kohli not willing to give the Aussies any scope of getting under the skin of the Indian players, the opportunist Australian media took the onus on themselves to unsettle the India skipper and even crossed the line in doing so. From accusing him of throwing bottles at their cricket officials, to comparing him with animals and controversial United States president Donald Trump, the journalists from Down Under left no stone unturned to target Kohli.
Emotions finally got the better of Kohli, who at the post match conference in Dharamsala, said that he no longer counted the Australian players as friends.
But the series is now done and dusted and Haddin has advised the emotional India star to spend some time away from the field in order to introspect on what transpired during the intense series.
“By all accounts, Virat Kohli is going to miss the early games of the IPL with his shoulder problem. Based on the sour note with which he ended a tremendous Test series victory for India over a fighting Australia, that may well be a good thing,” Haddin wrote in his column for ‘ESPNcricinfo.com’.
Kohli led the team in 12 Tests in the long home season, winning nine of them before missing the final Test against Australia due to a shoulder injury.
“At the end of this long and successful home season, I get the distinct impression that Kohli needs some time to think about how he goes about things as a batsman and a captain,” Haddin said.
“Time away from playing might help Kohli to reach a fairer viewpoint on what has transpired over the past six weeks: a terrific battle in which the Australians genuinely challenged India, and gave Kohli the toughest time of his international career to date,” he added.
Writing on Kohli’s ‘friendship’ comment, Haddin said:“Kohli saying that he no longer had any friends among the Australian team after the conclusion of the series took a lot of gloss off the contest, and once again suggested that the touring side had got as close as they did to India by underhanded means. This is not an assertion backed up by evidence and sets a poor example to all those watching the game, not only in India but around the world.”
The former player also had a word of praise for Ajinkya Rahane who led India to a thumping 8-wicket win over the Aussies in the absence of Kohli.
“Ajinkya Rahane, the stand-in captain, is as different from Kohli in his demeanour on the field as it is possible to be. He does not give the impression of looking for a fight so much as looking for groceries in the supermarket, but his second-innings batting against Pat Cummins showed that a bold heart beats beneath the quieter exterior,” he wrote.
“Similarly, the way he was able to work with the Indian fast bowlers, particularly Umesh Yadav, showed good sense and strong character.”
“It was a passage that said a lot about Umesh as a fast bowler, but also about Rahane as a leader: he showed the toughness of mind to recognise the key moment and seize it,” Haddin wrote.