Kohli is the most Australian non-Australian cricketer of all time: Greg Chappell

India takes on Australia in a much-awaited four-match Test series from December 17 but Virat Kohli will return home after the first game for the birth of his first child.

India captain Virat Kohli receives the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from Australian cricket legend Allan Border in the 2018-19 season.   -  FILE PHOTO/ REUTERS

Former India coach Greg Chappell has called Virat Kohli the “most Australian non-Australian” cricketer of all time and thanked the sport’s “most important” figure for championing the cause of the Test format with his “all-out aggression“.

Chappell invoked Mahatma Gandhi before crediting Kohli’s intensity for bringing about a paradigm shift in Indian cricket.

“Many previous Indian cricket teams tended to play with undue deference to their opponents, as if in accord with the Gandhian principle. Sourav Ganguly was the first Indian captain to try to change that approach. It worked to a degree in India, but usually hit a hurdle overseas,” Chappell wrote in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.

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“Virat Kohli does not believe in passive resistance. He is a proponent of all-out aggression. His idea is to dominate the opposition.

“Kohli is the most Australian non-Australian cricketer of all time. He embodies the new India. As the premier player and captain of the world’s pre-eminent cricket power, he feels an abiding responsibility to the wider game.”

India takes on Australia in a much-awaited four-match Test series from December 17 but their talisman will return home after the first game for the birth of his first child.

“The fact that Kohli champions Test cricket is a huge plus for a format under pressure for time and space in a crowded schedule,” Chappell said.

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“Test cricket has always been the pinnacle for him and it has driven him to be fitter and stronger to cope with its demands. It is why he drives his team in these areas because he wants India to be respected in the most demanding format.

“If the captain of India is ambivalent towards Test cricket, some administrators would be happy for it to slide into ignominy, as they are seduced by the newer, shinier models,” he said.

Senior statesman

On Kohli’s standing in world cricket, Chappell said the 32-year-old is aware of that but not obsessed with it.

“Winning games for India is way more important to him and he sees it as his prime objective...he is aware of his status in the game and how he can impact others.

“His response to the Indian supporters who booed Steve Smith at The Oval during the 2019 World Cup was illuminating and heartening. The brash youngster had morphed into a senior statesman."