India skipper Virat Kohli’s love-hate affair with Australia is well known. The swashbuckling batsman had become a public villain after infamously showing his middle finger to a hostile Sydney crowd during the 2011-12 tour but he managed to earn their respect with a brilliant batting display during the 2014-15 series.
But the 28-year old is once again feeling the heat from the Australian press after being involved in several sledging incidents in the ongoing Test in Bengaluru. The Delhi star targeted Australia’s batsmen with verbals throughout a tense second day of the second Test.
After being involved in a verbal battle with his Australia counterpart Steve Smith, Kohli tried to unnerve opener Matt Renshaw by reminding him of the toilet break he took in the Pune Test.
However, the Australia media, which seem to have forgotten their team’s incredible talent for verbally abusing the opposition, have tried to portray Kohli as a player who is depending more on his verbal abilities to make an impact on the game.
Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu wrote in his article, “Kohli talking bigger game than he’s playing – and it’s working”
“Virat Kohli is talking a bigger game than he is playing but the Indian captain is showing he can still inspire his team through words rather than action. His heckling of Smith was relentless. From the moment the Australian captain took guard, he was under siege. Not even the drinks break provided refuge for Smith,” Wu wrote.
The Daily Telegraph titled Kohli’s tussle with Smith as ‘Kohli gets personal with Smith’. “The gloves came off in Bangalore on Sunday night as Virat Kohli got personal in his battle with long-term rival Steve Smith.”
Not only that, they went on to call the India star a whining loser.
“From gracious winner to whining loser”, the Daily Telegraph said.
John Anderson in his article wrote, “When you appoint a street fighter such as Virat Kohli as captain, you have to accept that diplomacy is sometimes going to suffer when the heat gets turned on.”
Well, it looks like a case of sour grapes. The past incidents have clearly shown that the Aussies have never liked getting a taste of their own medicine. And if there is one team which has got the better of the Aussies in the sledging game, it has to be India. Every time, the team from Down Under has tried to get under the skin of the Indian players, it has badly backfired and Steve Smith’s me, it seems, have learned their lessons.
However, the Australian media has now taken the initiative of unnerving the Indian skipper by needlessly criticising him for his on-field banter. The indulgent media have been the perennial 12th man of Australian cricket and the cricketing world is well aware of that. Kohli’s poor display so far might have given them the confidence of taking a dig at him but the 2014-15 series is an example that it might backfire badly.