What Really Fired Virat Kohli in Australia?
Virat Kohli backed his war of words against the Australians with a ton of runs in the four-Test series. Being the prime 'target' of the hosts made him even more determined to score big.
Virat Kohli emerged as the second-highest run-getter in the four Tests against Australia. He also emerged as the No. 1 enemy Down Under for his aggressive brand of cricket. After a month-long tour, it is clear that Kohli not only has a huge hunger for runs but is a firebrand leader as well. (Also read: Want to win like you, Kohli tells Ganguly)
Blasting the 'myth' that Indian batsmen struggle overseas, Kohli plundered 692 from the four Tests -- an average of 86.50. With the bat, he hit four centuries and a fifty. With his words, he 'struck' Mitchell Johnson and his teammates -- making for a thrilling contest on and off the field.
"They (Australians) have booed me but I know they have liked the way we have played our cricket," Kohli said at the end of the final Test in Sydney.
"To have the whole Australian crowd and 11 players who want to irritate me and get me out has been challenging but it has been enjoyable." (Also read: Virat Kohli hails Team India)
Kohli indeed looked as if he was enjoying his time in the middle, each time he stepped out to bat or field. He was called a 'spoilt-brat' and was voted as a sports jerk by the media. The cruel words only brought the best out of this 26-year-old.
"The Australians hate me and I like that. It helps me play better," Kohli had said after his verbal duels with Johnson in the third Test. He had scored 169 in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test at MCG. (Read more here)
While performing on the field may be regarded by traditionalists as the best reply against sledging, being docile is unknown to Kohli. Why settle for just runs when runs and aggression can both be combined?
"I hate losing, have always been this way. When I walk out, I want the opposition to respect my team," Kohli had told former India cricketer Sourav Ganguly in a post-Sydney Test chat. (Can't compare Kohli and Dhoni, says Ganguly)
For all the shambolic overseas Test records, many believe Indian cricket stands on the cusp of a character change. Talent and triumphs remain primary but Kohli's has shown how adversities can transform into advantages as long as there is no option of backing down. (Also read: Ian Chappell unimpressed with Kohli's impatience)