There are players who unleash their A-game when pushed to the wall more so when the opposition players rile them up with verbal duels. If ever was one such player in India, it’s definitely Virat Kohli, the current Indian captain. He has notched up centuries after centuries in matches that were critical for the Indian team and on pitches that were conducive to aggressive fast bowling and also against opponents who did not shy away from attacking players personally, let alone the top of the off stump (what a coach trains bowlers for).
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Rashid Latif in a youtube show named ‘Caught Behind’ said that bowlers should refrain from messing with Virat Kohli. He compared Kohli with former greats Javed Miandad, Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar. He was speaking on the show with Pakistani journalist Nauman Niaj after former Australian captain Michael Clarke had revealed that Aussies were too soft on Kohli and did not sledge him enough for the fear of loss of IPL contract.
Rashid Latif said that that’s not quite true as Mitchell Johnson stepped up to sledge Kohli but he thwarted the Aussie attack admirably by scoring two centuries after MS Dhoni’s retirement from test cricket midway in the series. In reality, Virat Kohli had scored two centuries in two consecutive matches in third and fourth tests at MCG and SCG respectively. He had a phenomenal run Down Under in that series and had plundered 692 runs from 4 tests at an astounding average of 86.50.
Latif recalled another case when a left-arm pacer from West Indies tried to take on Virat Kohli but he fought back and gave it back to the bowler after hitting him for a boundary. The Pakistani wicket-keeper who last played for Pakistan in the ICC World Cup 2003, said that when the left-arm bowler tried to sledge Kohli, he fought back by playing his best T20 innings till date. Factually, he was referring to West Indies right-arm bowler Kesrick Williams. Williams had given a send-off to Kohli after dismissing him in an ODI match in the last bilateral series between the two nations.
Earlier, Michael Clarke had said that Australian players who were keen to join the ludicrous Indian Premier League did not want to take on players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in hope that they would be picked for the sides these players were captaining in the IPL. The right-hander who led Australia to the World Cup title in 2015 had said that India’s power in regards to the financial part of the game both at the international and domestic level is known to everyone.
However, Clarke pointed out a cricketing reason for not sledging Kohli as well. He said that Kohli is not the kind of batsman who will play a rash shot out of aggression from sledging so he would be better be sleepy at the start of his inning and that presents a chance for a bowler to get him out. Clarke rated Kohli as one of the best batsmen he had played with or against in his playing days on a Big Sports Breakfast radio programme.