What’s the story?
Virat Kohli has made a clear statement with his post-match quotes that this Indian cricket team will be one that plays the game in the same fashion that he treats the game. He gives the game ultimate respect but is willing to push the boundaries in terms of intensity and aggression on the field.
Quite often during this series, the team, and Kohli, especially, have been taunted a fair bit. The skipper spoke about how his team will handle such situations.
“Regardless of whether we are on top or not, we speak, if something pokes us we speak and give it right back. All people don't digest it well but we take it very well and we give it back even better.
Some people want to create some spice sitting at some part of the world. They don't confront such situations themselves. The easiest thing to do is to just sit at home and write a blog or speak on Mic but to go out there and bowl and bat is different."
Kohli’s quotes are in direct reference to the attitude of the Australian cricket team during the four-match Test series. The Australians looked to gain a mental advantage by partaking in verbal jousting during the matches. In the past, while this might have had an effect on the team, this Indian team has shown that they give it right back.
Further, he has also responded to the Australian media who have constantly put him under the scanner in the series. First, when he was a part of the ‘Vettel of the week’ contest where fans vote for their sports villain of the week, and later when he was likened to Donald Trump.
Kohli leads his team by example and his aggression is seen flowing the ranks of the cricketers in the squad. Be it with Ravindra Jadeja, who stood his ground and responded to Matthew Wade’s constant chatter during the fourth Test, Ishant Sharma’s expressions during the second Test in Bangalore and even Ajinkya Rahane, who batted in an incredibly aggressive fashion to secure the win in Dharamsala.
There were instances when the Australian team’s mind games got the better of the Indians, like when Pat Cummins forced KL Rahul into making a mistake by playing a poor shot. but Kohli ensures that his team also puts the opposition under equal pressure to force a similar error.
It’s a bit of a break for the Indian cricket team at the moment after a long and tiring home season. When they line up in their blue kits for the Champions Trophy in 2017, Indians fans will get to see Kohli lead the side for the first time in a major ICC tournament. It will be fascinating to see if they play will the same aggression, given the presence of MS Dhoni in the side as well.
India’s aggression can even be seen by the way the members of the team field questions during press conferences –
Virat Kohli’s style of leadership offers a fascinating contrast to MS Dhoni’s more calm and measured approach. The Indian team has seen a sharp and meteoric rise from No. 7 to No. 1 in the ICC Test rankings and it has been largely due to the in-your-face approach adopted by the team.
It is refreshing to see an Indian captain give it back as good as he gets. As long as the results keep coming, no one will question India’s aggression on the field.