Virat Kohli was a sight to behold on Sunday. His blistering 183 runs against a Pakistan that had earlier planted the red flag of 329 runs was a study in aggression and swagger. And if anyone required to see what fuelled that raging knock, he displayed the rush of adrenaline for all to see after reaching his century in 97 deliveries.
No, Kohli is no Prince Dravid, nor is he meant to be. If some folks expected him to raise his bat humbly to acknowledge the delirious crowd or to look up to the sky a la Sachin to thank the cricketing gods, the Delhi boy had to disappoint. Those pining for a return to the ‘gentleman’s game’ may be less focused on winning matches than on showing some kind of sporting etiquette. But not Kohli on his day.
But one may ask with regard to his post-century flurry of air-punches and what appeared to be a release of adrenaline thr-ough a string of cuss words: why such kolaveri, Kohli? The answer, of course, lies in sports being a form of channelised aggression. The fact that Kohli trotted up his score — and in the manner that he did — against Pakistan in a crucial Asia Cup match that saw India post a win that initially looked difficult may not mean much to worshippers of reason. But sports — especially a fixture pitting India against Pakistan — is not about logic but the ‘other things’.
The question, though, is: where will Kohli’s aggression be when he doesn’t deliver? Mightier batsmen fail, and so will Kohli. So while the rage that provides impetus to great knocks and big wins is a gift, it requires a saddle so as to not throw the rider off the bronco.
For every John McEnroe throwing his racquet and swearing at the umpire, there are too many lesser players who assume that greatness will follow simply by raging and ranting. Without sounding like a fuddy-duddy uncle who says ‘No beta, it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts’, we want Virat to have his air-punching and vocal venting sprees as long as the adrenaline can be controlled when his chips are down.
It’s not about being a gentleman; it’s about whatever it takes to keep Kohli playing like he did on Sund