He has not only triggered the wave of a new multi-generational fan-following, but is smashing his way through all sorts of records.
The Tendulkar Fan Club would be watching in awe at what Kohli has been able to achieve. A simple but unbelievable statistic is that he is averaging 87 Runs in One- Day Internationals (ODI) since the last World Cup four years back.
Although the series victory was in Tests, and the ODI is a different format, it is the momentum that Kohli and India have captured.
The Test Series
By winning the Border-Gavaskar Test series in Australia after 71 years of trying, India has shown to world where the sport’s true domination lies. And, more importantly, the manner in which they have done it under Kohli’s direction has earned them respect from across the globe, including many Australian supporters.
The series has brought focus on ethics and professionalism, exemplified by its flamboyant leader Kohli.
Following hurls of abuses by Australian coach Justin Langer, the Australian media went on a character assassination of Kohli. Langer found Kohli’s fist pumps and celebratory roars at the fall of a wicket rather too aggressive and somewhat sickening. He was quoted as saying “Australians would be the worst blokes in the world if they celebrated like Kohli.”
Someone ought to remind Langer of the facts and how his own team have gone about their business.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of any Australian cricket team to-date has been their excessive sledging and physical aggressiveness on field.
Past Incidents have seen Glenn McGrath spitting on players, Shane Warne shoving players and taking diuretics for extra strength, Mark Waugh implicated in bookie scandals and Brett Lee hurling beamers in his so-called ‘brain fade’ moments.
A recent video that has gone viral shows the very same Langer discretely disturbing the bails in a Test match, and his team then appealing for a “hit wicket” dismissal. Surely, these would be even “worse blokes” who could not stomach the opponent doing well.
Bordering on ethics
To the outside world, Australia have consistently bordered on ethics when it came to their cricket team. More often than not, they have gotten away, until the very recent ball tampering issue involving then Captain Steve Smith.
Smith and the team management were also caught cheating on their last India tour. Smith looked up to Lehman, sitting in the veranda with television replays at his disposal, on whether they should use the Decision Review System (DRS) or not. At first Smith and Lehman denied, then Smith said he had a ‘brain fade’ moment. The issue was supressed.
Months later, the ball tampering issue came up. After initial denial, they only confessed after video evidence against them was way too overwhelming.
To think that the claim of then coach Darren Lehman of knowing nothing of the plot involving Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft makes one ponder on how naïve he thinks the public are.
Lehman was not exactly a model cricketer in his time, and hugely infamous for his consistent racist rants. Much like now, the Australian media backed him outright. It is only after overseas media scrutiny that he admitted to having ‘brain fade’ moments and statements to the effect, “that is not who I really am.”
The reality is that Cricket Australia (CA) had backed their team in all instances of wrong doings. The culture got to such a point, team members had been in denial of any wrong-doings.
As if that were not enough, they would target opposition teams of being cheats and not playing in the “spirit of the game.”
By their own admission, CA and the associated management structures, had nurtured a culture of “win by all means.” CA has now initiated a change in this approach.
The trouble is, some in their camp are still in denial for all that has happened. What they need is a radically different approach to their attitude and play the sport clean and win back public support.
The big question remains – could Kohli’s team have achieved this feat with cheats Warner and Smith still in the side? No one knows, and frankly, no one should really care. The fact is Australia fielded their best eleven – and they were beaten, comprehensively.
- Virat Kohli, a World-Class Cricketer (Picture Courtesy: The Pioneer)
- Bancroft caught on Camera. Picture source: Twitter through CricTraker