While hardwork and talent are often the pivotal ingredients in the making of a successful sportsperson, the lack of passion for the sport is capable of affecting an athlete's tryst with greatness. Amongst many sports icons across the country, Virat Kohli is a prime example of how passion can allow sportspersons to elevate their game to a whole new level.
It's his passion for cricket that has turned Kohli into one of the best batsmen in the world across all the formats. It's once again his passion that has helped him grow into a ruthless captain. And, it's also his passion that defines Kohli's emotional, effervescent and, at times, firecracker character.
The same passion finds expression in everything Kohli does - whether on or off the field. We've seen him blowing a flying kiss to his wife Anushka Sharma after hitting a hundred. Irrespective of the popularity of his teammates, Kohli doesn't shy away from giving a mouthful when someone's at fault. When he's sledged, Kohli minces no words in getting back at his opponents.
This is a cricketer who tackles fire with fire. And, it's needless to say that he's pretty good at it. Kohli's aggression was once again in full display during the post-match press conference following India's 135-run loss in the second Test at Centurion.
The Indian team was blown away by debutant Lungi Ngidi on the fifth day at the SuperSport Park. The 21-year-old seamer recorded impressive figures of 6-39 to propel South Africa to a 2-0 win in the three-match Test series. The Indians, on their part, were expected to do better after the Newlands debacle, but their star-studded batting unit once again failed to negate the South African bowling attack.
There's little doubt that the Indian camp was overwhelmed with disappointment. And, captain Kohli's comments in the press conference summed up their mood. Heart-broken by his team's performance, Kohli began by rightly acknowledging the fact that the Proteas were collectively a better side.
Indian captain Virat Kohli is angry after defeat in Centurion..Fighting with South African Jouno says I am here to answer not to fight.#SAvIND #Centurion #Kohli #FreedomSeries #India #BBC #SouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/KzTdRa8MFf
— Sultan Mehmood Khan (@smk_77) January 17, 2018
"These conditions are something we are used to. South Africa collectively were a much better team than us. We need to ask ourselves if we are giving 120 percent for the team every time we play a ball, bowl a ball or field a ball. As a team we will definitely lay out these things in the open and ask the guys to be honest about what they were thinking about at particular stages of the game," Kohli said.
While Kohli minced no words in taking the responsibility for the loss, he lost his cool after a South African journalist suggested that constantly changing the playing XI had contributed to India's defeat.
Here's the partial transcript of Kohli's press conference:
Reporter: In over 30 Tests that you have been captain, you have changed your starting line-up in each and every Test you have played. I think you would know that to win Test matches you need a lot of consistency, and you have been lacking that part. What would you put that down to, and how would you say that you will continue changing your team and still expect different results?
Kohli: How many Test matches have we won out of 30?
Reporter: In how many have you changed the starting line-up?
Kohli: How many have we won? How many have we won?
Reporter: In how many have you changed the line-up?
Kohli: Twenty-one wins. Two losses. How many draws?
Reporter: How many in India?
Kohli: Doesn't matter. Wherever we play, we try to do our best. I'm here to answer your questions, not to fight with you.
Reporter: Do you still believe you're the best side in the world?
Kohli: Look, we have to believe that we are the best side. Even when we came here, if you don't have the belief that you can win the series here, there is no point coming here. We have not come here just to participate. And answering your question, sir, how many times did South Africa come into the game in India? Come close to winning games in India? Can you count?
Reporter: That's because of the spinning pitches.
Kohli: But we are not complaining about Cape Town either. The game was finished in three days, one was a washout. So look, we are not complaining about pitches, we are not complaining about conditions. We have come here to play. As I said, we have had equal opportunities to win in both games, and that's the positive we can take out of it, but I'm not sitting here comforting my guys. So I don't know what you are listening to, but I'm asking everyone to be hard on themselves.
The fiery exchange between Kohli and the journalist has become the talk of the town now. Every comment that the Indian captain has made is being carefully scrutinised to once again to highlight the fact that he is indeed the 'Bad Boy' or 'Brat' of the Indian team.
But, while the scribes continue to sensationalise the incident, the crux of the conversation highlights the bitter truth about the overseas tours in modern-day cricket.
Cricket fans are currently exposed to a trend of the home teams preparing wickets to their advantage before cutting a sorry figure for the visitors. India were ruthless at home during their gruelling home season last year, but on their first away tour of 2018, they've lost two consecutive Tests and, in turn, the series. And, it's not just India. The Proteas suffered the same fate when they last toured India.
It's a case of one step forward and two steps back. Whether it's good or bad for the game, the bitter truth has got us wondering if anyone competes on the overseas tours anymore, given the fact they can always regain points for the ICC rankings at home. Thus, robbing the fans of a good cricket contest which was once the essence of Test cricket.