Commentator and former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed his displeasure with the way Virat Kohli carries himself on the field at times. He further added that Kohli’s antics and behaviour would not be acceptable as much had it not been for his remarkable skill and achievements both as a batsman and as a captain.
The topic was discussed after the morning session on the fourth day of the second Test between India and Australia at Perth. In the first session, Kohli and Australia captain Tim Paine had a near coming together with the Indian skipper standing in his compatriots way as he tried to complete a run. Thereafter, both skippers took shots at each other needing umpire’s intervention.
Manjrekar, pundit for Sony Six was asked to comment on the issue at the lunch-time break and said “…that last gesture, Virat Kohli coming in the way of Tim Paine, that was completely uncalled for.”
“Actually, what if Kohli was not a such a great player getting all the runs that he does — some of his antics and behaviour on the field would have created quite a bit of stir and got lot more criticism. It’s just that he is such a champion batsman, people are sort of accepting that.”
Manjrekar also believes that Indians have been the aggressors in the series so far.
“In this Test match, in this series so far, the guy who has been most aggravated on the field on both sides has been the Indian captain. He can get runs despite having this kind of approach to cricket,” he said.
Former Mumbai batsman noted that Kohli gets away with a lot because of the ‘brand’ that he has built of being an animated person who celebrates wickets by sometimes going over the top with the expressions.
“For example, I mentioned Virat Kohli, the brand and that’s why he gets away with a lot of things. Lot of people haven’t talked about his reaction after he was given out [on Sunday]. Any other player – low profile name – I am sure would have got some kind of a warning from the referee.
“We have heard nothing from the officials about his behaviour when he walked off. If you see that again, and at some point we have to show it, because there’s clear show of dissent in public that he was given out. He was mouthing something and it was really out there for everyone to see. And I think again, the Virat Kohli brand has helped Virat Kohli not get the rap on the knuckle that he deserves,” he added.
Manjrekar added that Kohli’s celebrations after getting the century were over the top as well. “I think, runs can be got in different ways. Rahul Dravid has shown it. Sachin Tendulkar has shown it. I love the way he bats but lot of the things he does, apart from his batting, something I am not a big fan of. The celebration after he got a hundred, with the bat and the bat does the talking, that was totally unnecessary. Who is questioning Virat Kohli’s batsmanship that he has to show that the bat is doing all the talking,” Manjrekar said.
Also in the studio for the lunchtime talk was former Australia captain Michael Clarke who disagreed with Manjrekar. “I think it is fine so far. I think I know what comes with Virat Kohli. I have played against him. And I think his attitude you see just there is exactly what you see when he bats. So you can’t have the cake and eat it too,” Clarke said.
“You can’t say we want him to make hundreds, we want him to be an aggressive player, we want him to stand up to opposition players. It’s the same conversation I had about David Warner. It’s the same conversation I had about Sourav Ganguly, unbelievable captain because he stood up to everybody.”