Glass Jaw

To me, Virat Kohli seems a bit like the Donald Trump of the Indian cricket team.

Kohli is successful and widely lauded for his significant achievements. And rightly so. He is a fine player.

Why, then, is he so angry all the time? He has a thin skin and appears to require constant affirmation. Despite his magnificent feats on the field,  his terrific statistics and his high ICC rankings, Kohli talks a lot about ‘respect’ and whether or not he is getting enough of it.

His behaviour reminds me of Donald Trump. The US President, for example, calls CNN ‘fake news’ and tells us he reviles the ‘failing’ New York Times. Meanwhile, he clearly pays a great deal of attention to both and desperately craves their approval.

Similarly, Kohli can’t seem to conduct an interview or press conference without telling us how much he does NOT pay attention to his critics (whoever they are). Recently he was quoted as saying “All along in my career, there were many people who had doubted the way I have gone about my game. Even now there are doubters and haters all around.”

Are there? Really? They’re all around?

Even in the unpleasant  and spiteful aftermath of the 2nd Test in Bengaluru, the Australians have gone out of their way to say they respect Kohli as much as ever. While objecting to Kohli’s accusations, Australian bowling coach David Saker said “we respect him as a player, he’s an amazing player and his passion and the way he wanted to get his team up was quite evident out on the ground.”

Perhaps Kohli was referring to Ian Healy, who recently criticized Kohli’s behaviour on the field (not his prowess as a player, mind you). Kohli felt compelled to fire back at Healy, even directing the media to look up an old YouTube video of Healy misbehaving after a dismissal two decades ago.

“We’ve got 1.2 billion people in India, one person doesn’t make a difference to my life,” Kohli said of Healy.

Well, that’s obviously not true. If Healy’s remarks did not bother Kohli, he would not have even mentioned them. And few people would have paid any attention. In a matter of hours (or even minutes), Healy’s comments would have been forgotten. I mean, it’s just Ian Healy, right? Instead, Kohli or one of his minders has gone away and looked for ammunition with which to return fire. In so doing, they made Healy’s remarks into a news story. It’s like picking at a sore. You’re best leaving it alone if you want it go away.

Virat. Buddy. You’re captain of the No. 1 Test team. You’re the No. 3 Test and ODI batsman in the world. You’ve made it. You don’t need to be quite so defensive. If you want more respect, perhaps a little more tranquility would help.

I’m sure the support staff have a chill pill in the medicine cabinet.


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