Root & Kohli: Hot stars!

While Kohli doesn’t shy away from expressing himself on the field, Root tends to keep all his reactions low key.

Root stressed that he was looking forward to the remaining two days, at the post-match interaction.   -  Reuters

They are the torch-bearers of the legacy of great batsmen across formats. They are the backbone of their respective team’s batting units. While one of them has already established himself as the leader of his side in whites, the other is waiting in the wings for a call that doesn’t look too far. Still, despite the many similarities in their intent, >Virat Kohli and >Joe Root have many differences in their approach.

While Kohli appears cocky at times — both on and off the field, Root appears to be soft more often than not. While Kohli doesn’t shy away from expressing himself on the field — as was evident with yet another trademark celebration at the Wankhede Stadium on the third day of India’s fourth Test — Root tends to keep all his reactions — including the one after dropping Jayant Yadav late into the day’s play — low key.

Still, both the stylish batsmen tend to respect each other. Just like the famous mutual admiration between those who were among the fiercest competitors of their eras: Kapil Dev and Ian Botham; or Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. No wonder then, Root, when asked about what he feels about Kohli, the opponent, took a long pause.

 

“That’s a very good question,” he said. Another pause. “He is obviously very driven and he's very ambitious, you can see that in the way he approaches the game. Very emotional and he wears his heart on his sleeve,” Root said. Another pause.

“I wouldn’t say intimidating or anything like that but it’s quite good to play against guys that express how they feel and try and make you feel uncomfortable. For me, it gets me in good place, it gets me going and you want to get in that competitive mode where you can perform at your best.”

Barring the half chance he offered to leggie Adil Rashid on 68, Kohli was at his controlled best all through the day. En route his unbeaten 147, Kohli reached multiple landmarks: 500 runs in the series, 4,000 runs in Tests, 15th Test hundred, to cite a few. More importantly, with an able support first from the other century-maker M. Vijay in the opening session and then Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav in the last, he helped India end the day with a lead of 51 runs — healthy considering the manner in which the wicket is tilting in favour of the spinners.

Root had heaps of praise not just for Kohli but Vijay as well. “Even Vijay as well, they both played very well,” he said. “They (have) got a good balance between defence and being aggressive and on a wicket like that it makes it very hard to bowl at guys when they are in that sort of form. They deserve the scores they have got and those half-chances are just sort of barely disappointing in that respect. But it’s all about tomorrow now and moving forward.”

Well, Root has been turned on by Kohli’s charisma. And more than once during the post-match interaction did he stress that he was looking forward to the remaining two days. Ominous signs for Kohli and Co?