Virat Kohli Aggression Can be Counter-Productive for India in Australia: Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar says backing-off is never an option but Virat Kohli should not initiate a verbal conflict with Australia. He tells NDTV that un-checked aggression can have a detrimental effect on India team on Day 5 of the third Test in Melbourne.
Virat Kohli has waged a two-front war against Australia in Melbourne - one with the bat and the other with his fiery words. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar though feels the vice-captain's aggression can be counter-productive to the team in the ongoing Test.(Day 4 Report | Scorecard | Highlights)
Kohli was peppered with words on Day Four (Sunday) of the third Test. The batsman responded with 169 and a barrage of his own words against pacer Mitchell Johnson. While Gavaskar feels every cricketer has his own way of dealing with banter, Kohli should keep the team's interest in mind.(Kohli, Johnson Battle Sets up Day 5)
"Kohli's verbal duels can be counter-productive and it can affect the Indian team," he told NDTV on Monday - a day that saw Kohli continue his verbal assault when Johnson came out to bat.(Kohli Can Dominate India's Next Era: Gavaskar)
"The Indian team did the same in Brisbane against Johnson (88 and 4/61) and he blasted us. Kohli may get fired up but he needs to know how it would affect the team," Gavaskar said.(Kohli Needs to Control Himself: Hayden)
While many are claiming Kohli's aggression as the dawn of a fearless brand of cricket from hitherto sedate Indians, Gavaskar does not agree.
"If this (Kohli's aggression) is having some steel, are you suggesting that Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly did not have it?" asked the former India opener. "They were also massively tough on the field."
Gavaskar though was categorical that being calm did not always mean not responding to taunts.
"If somebody says something to you, don't back off. If you believe what the person is saying is not correct, you have to stand up," said Gavaskar. "But I don't think we should be initiating anything."
In a press conference on Sunday, Kohli had said that he was called a spoilt brat by Australians and that the constant taunts helped him score 169. Gavaskar though felt that the 26-year-old was vulnerable after being sledged and should further calm himself to score big. "He wasn't his normal self (on Sunday). He had a couple of edgy shots and a few chances. Let's not forget that it (exchange of words) had an effect on him."
With Australians leading India by 326 runs with three wickets to spare, Day five is expected to be a struggle for Indian batsmen. As the main-stay of the line-up, Kohli will have to perform once again but Gavaskar feels chances of a win are slender.
"Chances of a win are very, very slim. Australia are still calling the shots. Chasing 300-plus on a Day five pitch is never easy and the Indians will have to bat out of their skins," he said.
The Indian team - trailing 2-0 - need to win the Melbourne Test to save the series ahead of the final Test in Sydney. On the other hand, even a drawn Test at MCG will seal the series in favour of the Australians.