What’s the story?
In tune with the mantra of ‘what happens on the field stays on it’, Nathan Lyon is ready to make peace with Virat Kohli. Insisting that the Indian skipper is a ‘world-class player’ known for getting ‘quite emotional’ in the thick of things, the Australian spinner has expressed an inclination to have a candid chat and even buy a glass of lemonade for the star batsman.
However, the 29-year-old admitted that he would not expect to receive a greeting card from Kohli for Christmas. Pointing to the right-hander’s energy on the field, the off-spinner reiterated that his aggressive personality gets the crowd involved in the game.
Lyon said, “I am the type of guy who will play hard on the field and compete very hard but I am more than happy to talk to anyone off the field. I am more than happy to shake his (Kohli’s) hand and say hello to him, that is for sure. There is no harm in being nice. He gets a crowd up behind him over in India, but that is who he is. I don't think Virat will give me a Christmas card though (laughs).”
The recently completed Test series between India and Australia witnessed plenty of acrimonious incidents. Amidst heated press conferences and tense exchanges of words on the field, Kohli found himself at the center of the Australian camp’s attention despite having a rather lean run with the bat.
The heart of the matter
Taking a cue from South African pacer Dale Steyn’s barbs, Lyon had claimed during the second Test that Kohli was ‘the head of the snake’ when it came to the Indian batting lineup and the others might collapse once the captain’s wicket was taken. His statements came on the back of claiming the best ever figures by a visiting bowler in India.
At the end of the Test which India won by 75 runs, Kohli hit back at Lyon by responding that the ‘snake could sting from a lot of directions’. Eventually, the hosts staved off a spirited Australian challenge to clinch the series by a 2-1 margin and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. But, the Indian skipper went on to declare that his friendships with a ‘couple of players’ from the opposition camp were over.
Despite reports suggesting that Lyon was in the fray to replace the injured Ravichandran Ashwin in the Rising Pune Supergiant squad for the 2017 IPL season, the development did not fall into place. With Australia’s next assignment being the Champions Trophy, his chances of getting included in the ODI squad remain slim.
In the aftermath of an intense and fractious series, Lyon’s peace-making gesture to Kohli is in the right spirit. The onus is now on the Indian captain to reciprocate in kind.