With great power comes great responsibility and no one knows it better than India skipper Virat Kohli. Not just a national heartthrob, cricket fanatics across the world look to emulate Kohli. And the once angry young man is definitely cooling down with each passing day.
Call it the additional responsibility of being a role model or the need to guide a team that is filled with youngsters and looking to win the World Cup, Kohli has indeed turned a new leaf and his "will discuss it man-to-man" comment in reaction to South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada calling him "immature" bears testimony to the fact that Kohli is not looking for confrontations to up the ante.
Back in 2008 when Virat Kohli broke into the international scene, he gave the impression of being an immensely talented but temperamental kid who never shied away from verbal spats and taking on the opposition.
Whenever he reached a milestone, it was but sure that fans would be seeing some of the choicest expletives coming out of his mouth. His childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma would often put that to "wearing his heart on his sleeves". The coach would even go on to say that Kohli was more in the Sourav Ganguly mode than M.S. Dhoni.
While his predecessors like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman preferred talking with the bat, here was this guy who never took a back seat whenever any member of the opposition crossed the line and would rather come out with more intense reaction, thus provoking the person concerned.
Thanks to his actions, the Aussies termed him a "spoilt brat" - this was the culmination of numerous events that unfolded during India's 2014 tour of Australia. While he was still scoring runs, more often than not, Kohli was involved in controversies and was criticised by many in the cricket fraternity.
Not to forget the famous Sydney Test where after being sledged by the crowd, Kohli was seen flipping the bird to the crowd, something which he later said he regretted doing.
However, Kohli, arguably one of the best batsmen in the current generation, believed back then that these verbal tiffs and aggressive confrontations helped him to come out with his A-game and do wonders for the team.
Cut to 2019 and one will see that while the aggression and passion for the game remains the same, Captain Kohli has now become much more relaxed.
Although, he doesn't shy away from having a go at the opposition on and off, a sense of calm and maturity has now been incorporated in the fast-pumping heart of the 30-year-old. While he often credits his wife Anushka Sharma for this transformation, the captain showed great maturity on Tuesday when he refused to react to Rabada's comment that he is immature.
Unlike earlier days where he used to take on the opposition teams and players even during press conferences, he now prefers to offer restraint and solve the issue "man-to-man" if the need arises.
Clearly, Kohli means business as Team India embark on their journey to try and win the 2019 edition of the World Cup in England and Wales.
(Aakash Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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