Virat Kohli may have failed to end his disastrous run with the bat in the just concluded rescheduled fifth and the final Test of the series against England in Birmingham, but he was as passionate as ever in the game. But often Virat Kohli goes overboard with his emotions on the field, something which was witnessed at Edgbaston as well when he was involved in an ugly verbal spat with England wicketkeeper batter Jonny Bairstow. His confrontation, however, ignited the spark in Jonny Bairstow who not only hit a hundred in the first innings but an unbeaten century in the second as well. The England wicketkeeper was the main man behind India's loss to the hosts as the Three Lions cruised through to a seven-wicket, accomplishing their highest successful run chase ever in Test cricket. Former England cricketer and noted commentator David Llyod has now slammed Virat Kohli's shenanigans in the match and has called him the ‘pantomime villain' in cricket.
During the match, Virat Kohli was continuously sledging Jonny Bairstow but the England batter responded in the best fashion possible. He let his bat do all the talking as he played match-defining knocks in both innings and ended up winning the Man of the Match award.
“Jonny Bairstow's Strike Rate before Kohli's Sledging – 21. Post Sledging – 150. Pujara ki tarah khel rahe thhey, Kohli ne Pant banwa diya bewajah sledge karke (He was playing like Pujara, Kohli turned him into Pant after sledging him),” India great Virender Sehwag tweeted referring to the drastic change in Jonny Bairstow's strike after his brawl with Virat Kohli on Day 3.
Before Kohli clash: 13 from 61 balls
After Kohli clash: 93 off 79 balls
Bairstow was fired up 🔥#ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/3mcllsXOqZ
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) July 3, 2022
Despite the two players engaging in an on-field war of words, Virat Kohli and Jonny Bairstow shook hands with each other after England's victory on Tuesday, a moment David Lloyd described as “glorious”.
However, David Lloyd suggested that if Virat Kohli wanted to engage opposition players in such altercations, he' should rather change the sport he plays because cricket had no place for insults, abuses, and provocations.
David Llyod's advice for Virat Kohli was to take up cage fighting to find out if he could compete there as well.
“I thought the on-field scenes at the conclusion of the game were glorious, with India's players warmly congratulating Root and Jonny Bairstow and recognizing the epic job they had done. Special mention for Virat Kohli, who is the proudest and most combative India cricketer, and at times plays the pantomime villain, but who had a special word to both players. I like that,” David Lloyd wrote in his column for The Daily Mail.
“Having said that about Kohli, I do sometimes wonder where the line is and who draws it. Sportsmanship, banter, gamesmanship, boorish behavior, insults, abuse – we saw everything on the fourth day. Of course, cricket is a non-contact sport and the trader is safe in the knowledge that he or she can't get hurt. But if a player feels the need to engage another, my advice is to take up cage fighting and have a proper go. Let's see what you're really made of,” he pointed out.
Earlier, noted British broadcaster Piers Morgan and former England cricketer Nick Compton had slammed Virat Kohli for his on-field behavior.
“Kohli has a brass neck blowing mocking kisses at a bloke who's scored three more Test hundreds in the past month than he has in the past 2.5 years,” Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter.
“Kohli seems to be making the game look hard, not sure of his off stump and seems to be trying too hard that his natural intensity even looks forced. A man trying to find his place again. It can't be easy for him falling back into rank and file after leading the team,” Nick Compton said on the micro-blogging platform.
589 runs off 578 balls in his last five Test innings. Four centuries.
It's the summer of Bairstow ✨ pic.twitter.com/HWDwsEjTSi
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) July 5, 2022
While Virat Kohli has continued to receive negative comments for his attitude towards Jonny Bairstow, the England player downplayed the whole episode during a press conference before his team triumphed over the South Asians.
“There was literally nothing. We've been fortunate to play against each other for ten years. So, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to have dinner. Don't worry about it,” Jonny Bairstow said in response to a question on his fight with Virat Kohli.
“It's a bit of craic. We're fiercely competitive on the field and that's what it’s about. We're playing Test cricket and we're two competitors. It brings the best out of us. Whatever it takes, you want to get your team over the line and that's part and parcel of the game,” Jonny Bairstow concluded.