Ask a cricket novice who is India’s best batsman at the moment and it will have to be a rare incident if the answer is not Virat Kohli.
Having amassed 2595 international runs in 2016, Virat Kohli is undoubtedly way ahead of his compatriots. But then, Englishmen tend to view their invented sport and individuals related to it with a different lens, and thus, it wasn’t difficult to comprehend when Ben Stokes said Indian batting is much more than Virat Kohli. (LIVE BLOG)
It isn’t like he doesn’t have a point with two Karnataka batsmen going past the total put up by England alone but then to dismiss someone’s credentials who is the leading run-getter in the series is perhaps calling for unwanted trouble. “In every game, someone (from the Indian team) has gone on to get a big score. It’s nice to see the back of Kohli, but yes, unfortunately someone else obviously ends up getting a big score,” Stokes said on Monday. Well, out of the five Test matches, Kohli has been the top-scorer in a match twice, with India winning both the matches. (LIVE SCORECARD)
But then it’s quite understandable for someone who saw his team thrice hit the 400-mark and then come back to try and save a match. It was in the third Test where he had an altercation with India’s Test captain after he got out, an act that didn’t go unnoticed by the ICC and reprimanded him. When Kohli was dismissed on Day 2, Stokes made a ‘sealed’ gesture at Kohli as he walked back. But then, he was playing with the most animated captain India has had in a decade. When Stokes got out on the third day, Kohli was quick to put a finger on his lips as if stating ‘I am not saying anything’. The moment went viral on social media and was played on the big screens and had the crowd going like always.
“It’s up to him (Kohli), isn’t it. He’s obviously quite a vocal character. But that’s Virat. He gets a bit wound up,” Bairstow had said during the ongoing tussle. “We’ll leave him to it. If he wants to do that, let him do that. And we’ll go about our business as we have over a period of time. But yes. If he wants to do that and let the crowd do that, then let him.”
The Kohli-Stokes heated affair have already brought back memories when Sourav Ganguly had waved his shirt after winning the Natwest series in 2002 in response to a similar gesture by Andrew Flintoff back at the Wankhede in Mumbai.
However, as on the last day of the five-match series, India leads the series 3-0 and there are no prizes on offer to guess who has had the last laugh in the series. For long, animated behaviour and overenthusiastic mannerisms have been termed as sledging when it was done by the opposition and unruly behaviour when Indians returned the favour. But first Ganguly and now Kohli have both changed that perception.