Virat Kohli has a lot of Australian spirit in him, says Michael Clarke

Former Australia cricket team skipper Michael Clarke said the Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli is respected by fans and cricketers alike Down Under

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 17, 2017 22:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Virat Kohli,Michael Clarke,Indian cricket team
Former Australia cricket team skipper Michael Clarke says he doesn’t expect Aussie media to write good things about Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli but cricketers and fans Down Under like Kohli for the spirit he displays on the field.(Getty Images)

Former Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke has admitted that although his country’s media may not write positive things about India skipper Virat Kohli, it wouldn’t be right to assume that the swashbuckling cricketer doesn’t have enough fans Down Under.

“I disagree that Virat doesn’t have too many fans in Australia. I think Virat has a lot of Australian spirit in him,” Clarke, who in India, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

“To be honest, he plays the game really tough and is really competitive on the field, but he is a nice guy off the field,” added Clarke. “So when people get to know Virat, they realize that what they see on the field is just his competitive spirit. I can’t think of any Australian cricketer who wasn’t like that every time we walked out on the field. I certainly think there is respect for Virat in Australia.”

Kohli has been involved in quite a few controversies with the Australian media over the past few years. From being pitted against a puppy, a kitten and a panda to be voted as the ‘Vettel of the Week’ on Fox Sports to being nominated as the ‘biggest sports jerk of the week’ by news.com.au, things have touched new lows every single time the two nations had faced each other.

“You probably are not going to read the positive stuff (about Virat) in the Australian media though,” said Clarke. “They all want to write a negative story. But I have a great relation with him and I think he is respectful.”

Australia will be visiting India in September and October this year for limited-overs series that will feature five ODIs and three T20Is.

Tough to beat India at home

Clarke said that India will be difficult to beat at home but also said that Kohli and Co. should prove themselves abroad to earn their place as one of the greatest sides of all time.

“The Indian team right now is full of confidence and the upcoming tour for Australia is going to be tough, said Clarke on NDTV. “This tour will be a great challenge for Australia as India, at the moment, are playing very well. Obviously the Australian supporters expect their team to be best in the world. But, India are ticking all the right boxes under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.”

Clarke added that if Kohli’s team does well in the upcoming away tours against the top teams -- South Africa in January, Australia in 2018 and England in 2019 -- no one will question its No. 1 status.

“If India can beat South Africa, Australia and England at away conditions, there will be no doubt that India is the number one team in the world,” Clarke said.

The former skipper, who has turned to commentary now, was relieved that the rift between Cricket Australia and the players’ association came to an end.

“It is fantastic that the deal has been done and everybody can focus on cricket. Australia will be travelling to Bangladesh very soon and then we come to India and then the Ashes, so it is wonderful that the game can now move forward. The players can focus on what they do the best — playing — and the administrators can do their job too. I think everybody is sick and tired of talking about it and very happy that it’s over,” he added.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 15:51 IST