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K.R. Nayar column: Kohli inspires and exasperates — all in a week’s span

In a sport like cricket, everybody’s opinion has to be respected

16:40 January 21, 2018

If Indian skipper Virat Kohli had inspired everyone by sweeping the top International Cricket Council awards last week, he was — at the same time — quite uninspiring with his arrogant behaviour at the press conference after losing the second Test to South Africa.

Kohli fans may argue that there is nothing wrong in being arrogant. Some believe modern cricket demands such aggressive behaviour on and off the field. Aggression on the field as a player is beautiful to watch but aggression off it, especially at a press conference, is uncalled for.

It is Kohli’s ability to work hard that has helped him win all those ICC awards. If a sports lover, who is not a cricket enthusiast, watches Kohli’s press conference video after the second Test defeat, his opinion about the cricketer of the year’s behaviour in public is bound to be poor.

Kohli’s patience at the batting crease is impressive, but he seems to lack the skills required to explain a defeat. It’s a captain’s duty to explain a defeat and respond to questions on team combination and his team’s record against a particular country. In cricket, even those who haven’t played the game have an opinion and that must be respected. The more a sport is debated, the more popular that sport becomes.

Like a columnist’s view is often questioned, a cricketer’s or a team’s actions too will be quizzed. If a cricketer believes that it is not anyone’s business to seek an answer, then it is neither good for the game nor the cricketer.

Last year Kohli, as captain, lifted India to the No. 1 slot in Tests and second position in One-day Internationals. Thus the ICC found him to be the right person to be named captain of ICC’s One-day and Test teams made up of outstanding players. Captaincy is not only about transforming a team into a winning squad but also playing the role with dignity. Kohli has already been fined many times for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct.

Cricket fans must remember and laud him for the number of records he broke over the years, but if this trend and attitude continues, it would be unfortunate if he also goes on to break the record for being fined the maximum number of times.

Any cricketer, however great, must imbibe positive qualities from other cricketers. Kohli is a role model for many due to his exploits with the bat and if youngsters go on to believe that it is also fine to behave like him off the field, cricket and the cricketer in the boy will look disgusting.

It would be best if Kohli takes a look at some of the Indian cricketers who have left behind a legacy as Indian captains. A true sportsman is elegance in motion, both on and off the field.