What’s the story?
Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has landed another barb at Virat Kohli. The 35-year old declared that the Indian skipper‘s ultra-aggressive body language has made him lose focus and contributed to his own downfall in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“It’s one of those things we used to say as opposition players – you’d love to have him (Kohli) in your side because he has that passion and drive and he’s a gun player, everyone knows that. But I reckon he has taken it a little bit too far and he’s lost a bit of his focus,” Johnson told The Daily Telegraph.
Speaking from experience, he explained, “I know I went through being over-aggressive sometimes and got caught up with that emotion and wasn’t thinking about what I was doing out there. You can get Virat fired up, we’ve seen that, and it looks like he’s let his emotions take over. He might have fallen into that trap and I hope he does again in the last Test as well. When the scoreline is 1-1, you want to see the best players do well. But if Australia bowl well and get on his nerves a bit, it will be perfect for us.”
Despite having scores of 0, 13, 12, 15 and 6 in the series thus far, Kohli has managed to dominate headlines in the cricket world with his fiery demeanour and vigorous captaincy. Both on and off the field, he has gotten under Australia’s skin.
The heart of the matter
Steven Smith’s ‘brain fade’ with DRS in the second Test in Bengaluru triggered a sequence of heated incidents between the two camps. After BCCI and CA stepped in, the matter appeared to be settled. However, tempers continued to sour in the third Test in Ranchi with Kohli’s shoulder injury at the forefront of another skirmish.
At the end of the match, the Indian captain alleged that quite a few Australian players had disrespected the home team’s physiotherapist Patrick Farhart. While Smith rejected those accusations, the Aussie media went one step further and compared Kohli with the controversial American President Donald Trump. Amidst escalating tension, Johnson felt that the visitors need to keep the star batsman under pressure by verbally taking the attack to him in the final Test.
The winner-takes-all clash is set to begin on Saturday in Dharamsala. However, Kohli’s participation in the series decider remains doubtful as his shoulder injury has not healed completely. As a precautionary measure, the hosts have brought in the uncapped Shreyas Iyer as cover.
Johnson’s views pretty much describe the series Kohli has been having. Despite coming into the series on the back of stellar form, the 28-year old has struggled to make an impact with the bat against the Aussies. If he does feature in the match, the onus is on the right-hander to answer his detractors by coming up with a significant knock in the vital fourth Test.