Virat Kohli’s on-field behaviour came under light once again in the second Test of the India-Australia series at Perth with the Indian skipper getting into a war of words with his counterpart Tim Paine. The scenes unfolded on the third and fourth day of the Perth Test – which India lost by 146 runs to see the series levelled at 1-1 – inviting criticism from the likes of Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson and Sanjay Manjrekar. However, one Aussie great – Allan Border – has defended Kohli’s actions, suggesting cricket needs such passionate characters.
“There’s not many characters in our game at the moment. The professional era has sort of beaten that out to a certain degree,” Border said on Fox Cricket’s podcast ‘The Follow-on‘.
On the fourth day of the Test, as Kohli stood in Paine’s way while completing a run and then getting into a discussion, it needed umpire Chris Gafaney to intervene and get both skippers to quiet down.
“I haven’t seen anyone sort of carry on so much as a captain when his side takes a wicket. It’s really over the top but it’s good in a way. You can see some passion about what he’s trying to do,” Border said.
Border added that perhaps Kohli’s aggression stems from the desire to cement his legacy with an away series victory. “He’s so keen to win away from home and really deserve that number one ranking … that’s your KPIs (key performance indicators) as a captain I suppose,” he said.
India come into the Australia Test series having lost back-to-back away series this year – against South Africa and England with Australia the final challenge before the IPL and the World Cup.
“To drive the team to be number one, which he has achieved, but to win away from home is one of those important things you notice as a captain.”
Border also opined that as the leader, Kohli feels the need to manifest the passion and drive. “I think he’s feeling that pinch. If you look at this Indian side he’s probably the only one that has the character to get really animated,” he said.
“The rest of the Indian boys are very good cricketers but seem to me a quiet bunch and maybe Kohli feels as skipper he needs to lead from the front and really show some passion and drive. I think it just comes naturally to him,” he added.