Dubai: The sense of awe and respect that Indian skipper Virat Kohli has generated ever since his arrival in Australia with the rest of the team three days ago can only be compared with another batting legend in contemporary cricket - Sachin Tendulkar.
It all started with the special treatment Kohli has been accorded as he has been put up in a separate penthouse in the hotel where Team India are staying for their mandatory two-week quarantine in Sydney. Local media reports suggest that it’s the same facility which is reserved for Australian rugby legend Brad Fittler whenever he puts up there.
The New South Wales government has also permitted Kohli & Co to train during the quarantine period and their sessions are being conducted at the Blacktown International Sports Park, which has been turned into a bio-secure venue.
What’s more, Kohli’s decision to leave the tour after the first Test in Adelaide in December has been hailed by the Australian cricket establishment as well as Justin Langer, the Head Coach. “He’s (Kohli) a human being like all of us... if I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do,” Langer said - but not before showering Kohli with lofty words of praise.
“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields,” Langer said.
He also hailed Kohli’s decision to leave the series mid-way in order to be with his wife.
“I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision (to return for the birth),” Langer said.
Mark Taylor, former Australia captain and TV pundit, said on Sunday that Kohli is a very powerful guy in world cricket who does a very good job of being a statesman as well as an aggressive cricketer.
“I think he is a very powerful guy in world cricket, but I think he does a very good job to walk that fine line in being an aggressive cricketer and also a statesman. I think he’s doing it very well,” Taylor was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Accepting the notion that the talismanic Indian batsman could be the most powerful figure in the game, Taylor believes it’s a title that sits well with Kohli. “I think he treats that responsibility with great respect,” the former Australia skipper said. “He’s still very much his own person when you watch him play.
“I’ve always found him in the times I’ve spoken to him to be very respectful to the game and those playing it and those who have played it,” he added.