As far as Virat Kohli is concerned, it's what he does on the field and not the designer T-shirts and cool haircuts he sports that he should be judged by. Speaking at a promotional event in New Delhi on Tuesday (October 1), Kohli also expressed hope that India get to play "some games" in South Africa following the confusion over India's tour of the country. (Read: Exclusive - IPL spot-fixing scandal hurt Indian cricket's image: Virat Kohli)
"We are looking forward to the South African tour," said Kohli. "I think that tour will set the standard for our young team to go forward. Hopefully, we get to play some games there. I am not somebody who can take a call. All we can do is to be prepared if a decision comes. We had this tour in mind for a long time. Let's see how things work out."
Whether the tour of South Africa takes place or not, there's a limited-overs international series against Australia at home starting October 10, and Kohli said that even without Michael Clarke, out with a back injury, Australia were formidable opposition. "They have quite a few match winners in their side," he said. "And since all of us are pretty much fresh from a two-month break, it's important to hit the stride early. A winning start will set the tone for the rest of the hectic season."
While talking about Australia, the subject of intimidating the opposition, as well as Kohli's aggressive body language on the field, came up."It's not just Australia," he said. "If a team tries to bully you or sledge you, you can't just let that happen. You have to give it back.
"Virat Kohli is not the brash young kid because he wore tattoos on his body and fancy hair styles when he first arrived. I am not about funky T-shirts as well. I am what I do on the field and the amount of effort I put in."
Though he has played just 18 Tests and 113 One-Day Internationals, Kohli has been running MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar close in the endorsement stakes in recent times, according to media reports. "I don't care where I am placed as a brand," he said. "But I surely do want to match Sachin and Dhoni's exploits on the field."
Kohli, who recently led Delhi in the Challenger Trophy, where they lost in the final to India Blue, led by Yuvraj Singh, had words of praise for Yuvraj as well as Zaheer Khan, who have both been training hard to come back into the Indian team.
"I never had doubts about his comeback," said Kohli of Yuvraj, who has been named in the India team for the first four matches of the limited-overs series against Australia. "I knew if he gets to play a few domestic matches, he would make it into the side.
"But what pleased the most was the fact that he shut himself completely out from the world and went to France to train. Both him and Zaheer have put in the extra effort. Yuvi has lost weight and looks much fitter."