Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Virat Kohli shows his dark side, again

He is the poster boy of Indian cricket; he wears his aggression on the sleeve and is more than willing to take the fight to the opposition. A batsman par excellence, he is even tipped to break almost all the records before him. Full Coverage: ICC World Cup 2015 Yet, Virat Kohli, the man who is being hailed as the captain of the future, has a darker side which erupts from time to time. It was on show once again on a quiet Tuesday afternoon here, when Team India was training at the Murdoch University ground. For no rhyme or reason, and literally out of the blue, the India vice-captain started to abuse a journalist of a national daily. The media contingent and ICC officials simply watched in dismay as nobody could fathom the reason for his invective-laden tirade. As it transpired later, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity: Kohli unleashed himself on the hapless journalist believing that he had done a story, exposing the fact that his actress girlfriend Anushka Sharma was staying with him in the team hotel during India's tour to England last May despite a ban by the BCCI. When Kohli realized his mistake, he apologized to the journalist but that too through another journalist. But by then, the damage had been done. The enfant terrible of Indian cricket had once again shamed himself in front of his fans and the media by showing his darker side. It is learnt that team director Ravi Shastri warned him after the incident to behave in future. But it's anybody's guess if it will have any effect on Kohli. On the current tour, the Australian players have branded him a spoilt brat because of his aggressive body language and penchant to celebrate milestones by mouthing abuses. While that may be a part of the way the game is played in modern times, taking up cudgels with a journalist doing his job will not stand him in good stead when it's time for captain MS Dhoni to step down. In this instance, of course, the journalist hadn't even written anything and he was insulted and abused in front of his colleagues and sundry officials. Indeed, stunned team officials and a couple of players even tried to mollify him but Kohli just wouldn't stop. He didn't have the basic courtesy to apologise even after he realised his mistake. Of course, the brash Delhi batsman doesn't stop at opposition players, journalists and the common man. He allegedly cut loose in the team dressing room itself during one of the Tests here when he was asked to go in to bat at short notice after Shikhar Dhawan pulled up unfit at the last minute. According to reports, Kohli is believed to have had a nasty showdown with his Delhi teammate though it was vehemently denied by the team management later. Dhoni described it as 'unrest' in the ranks. He may be a young batsman, full of talent, but this is certainly no way to behave in public. Team India which has been served with so much dignity by much bigger players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble will be horrified when the captaincy baton is passed into his hands. TALKING UGLY Virat Kohli's diatribe against a media person in Perth on Tuesday wasn't the first time the cricketer has let his anger get the better of him. TOI looks back at past such incidents involving the Delhi batsman... IT'S KOHLI VS GAMBHIR (APRIL, 2013): A verbal duel between KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and Kohli during their IPL clash took fans by surprise. As Gambhir and other players walked towards the cover region to celebrate the RCB skipper's dismissal, Kohli, instead of walking back to the pavilion, charged towards Gambhir and made a remark after which all hell broke loose. ALTERCATION WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS (OCT, 2009): Kohli got involved in a spat with photographers at Jamtha (Nagpur) just before the start of India's ODI against Australia. As he was training, one of his shots almost hit a camera belonging to a photographer who, along with other cameramen, was sitting behind the advertisement hoardings. Kohli paid little heed to their request to train somewhere else, leading to a verbal free-for-all. THE INFAMOUS MIDDLE FINGER (JAN, 2012): Angry at an abusive group of spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Kohli stuck out his middle finger at the hecklers on the second day of the India-Australia Test. Kohli later defended himself on Twitter, saying, "I agree cricketers don't have to retaliate. What when the crowd says the worst things about your mother and sister? the worst I've heard (sic)." YELLING AT WANKHEDE (APRIL, 2013): In a tense IPL game against hosts Mumbai Indians, Kohli lost his cool after being targetted by a section of the crowd and retaliated by giving it back. Speaking after the game which his team lost, the RCB captain rued that the spectators had forgotten that he also represented their country. "It feels a bit weird because at the end of the day you play for India and you don't come here to be hated."

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