Life hasn’t been a bed of roses for celebrated cricketer cum captain of Indian team Virat Kohli. His aggressive role on the field has attracted fans and critics alike. However, while on the Australian tour, his behavior on the field, especially in the 2nd test at Perth, has evoked some mixed reactions. While fans have defended him as usual, the left liberals, especially from Bollywood, have criticized his actions, even to the extent of insulting him like left liberal actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Into this scenario stepped in Vivian Richards. Led by this charismatic cricketer, a lot of ex-stalwarts from cricket have come up in the defense of Virat Kohli’s attitude, demolishing the narrative set by Naseeruddin Shah point by point. To quote Vivian, “India were not like this years back (70’s, 80’s and 90’s). But it’s nice to have someone like Viraat. I love it [aggression], why not? They now love to give it back. That’s what cricket is all about. I love Virat’s captaincy.”
He also added further, “He competes hard. He expects results. A lot of people have said he’s too aggressive……I don’t think so. When you have a guy who can lead from the front, it can only rub off on the individuals who are following him. As you can see, the Indian team today is the team to beat in world cricket.”
For those unaware, Virat Kohli was quite unhappy with the controversial dismissal at the hands of Peter Handscomb, due to which he refused to acknowledge any courtesy from the hands of the Australians. He also had a frosty handshake with the captain Tim Paine, due to which several people criticized him, including popular commentator Harsha Bhogle and left-liberal actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Naseeruddin crossed his limits when he labeled him as ‘world’s worst behaved player’ and ‘arrogant’. To quote his atrocious post on Facebook, “Virat K is not only the world’s best batsman but also the world’s worst behaved player. His cricketing brilliance pales beside his arrogance and bad manners.”
Interestingly, Vivian isn’t the only one to defend Virat Kohli. Even the ex-stalwarts from the rival team i.e. Australia, have come to his rescue, acknowledging his aggressive stance and even praising it. To quote fierce pacer Dennis Lillee, “I think he is a great player. There is no need for me to even say because everyone knows that. What makes Virat great is first of all great technique, determination, balance and the time he has got to play the deliveries.”
Even Australian great Allan Border minced no words in his praise for Virat Kohli, as he said, “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. There’s not many characters in our game at the moment.”
Allan further added, “The professional era has sort of beaten that out to a certain degree. It’s good to see guys with that passion, drive and a bit of character.”
The way these stalwarts have praised Virat Kohli is just the tonic he and his Indian team needs in their next challenge against the Australian team. It also serves as a tight slap to those left liberals in Bollywood, especially the likes of Naseeruddin Shah, who think that they can humiliate any hard working sportsperson for not kowtowing to their lines and get away with it.