Virat Kohli has come under criticism for animated celebrations and heated exchanges with Australia captain Tim Paine during the recently-concluded second Test in Perth. However, former Australia captain Allan Border has come to the defence of the Indian skipper, saying his antics might be over the top but the game needs characters who show passion. “I haven’t seen anyone sort of carry on so much as a captain when his side takes a wicket,” he said in a Fox Sports podcast Thursday. “It’s really over the top but it’s good in a way. You can see some passion about what he’s trying to do.
“There’s not many characters in our game at the moment,” Border added.
“The professional era has sort of beaten that out to a certain degree. It’s good to see guys with that passion, drive and a bit of character.”
Border, who played 156 Tests, including 93 as captain, said he believed Kohli was passionate by nature, but also motivated by a “quiet” squad and the desire to win India’s first ever series in Australia.
“To drive the team to be number one, which he’s achieved, but to win away from home is one of those important things you notice as a captain,” he said. “I think he’s feeling that pinch.”
Earlier, former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson also slammed Kohli for failing to acknowledge the crowd’s applause after he was controversially given out in the first innings for 123, and for his frosty handshake with Paine at the end of the game.
Kohli’s animated wicket celebrations have also widely frowned upon while India great Sunil Gavaskar hit out at his “selection blunders”.
But Border said the game needed characters like Kohli.
The four Test series is tied 1-1 with the Boxing Day Test starting in Melbourne on December 26.