In the aftermath of India’s World Cup final defeat to Australia, Virat Kohli faced criticism that did not sit well with cricket legend Brian Lara. In a stern message, Lara addressed the doubters, defending Kohli’s exceptional performance throughout the tournament.
Virat Kohli emerged as the leading run-scorer in the World Cup, accumulating a record tally of 765 runs at an astonishing average of 95.62. His performances included three centuries and three half-centuries, marking one of the most outstanding individual displays in cricket history. Despite Kohli’s brilliance, India fell short in the final against Australia.
Brian Lara expressed his displeasure with a section of the public that labeled Kohli’s World Cup form inconsequential due to India’s ultimate defeat. Lara urged critics to focus on the bigger picture – Kohli’s legacy and his ability to inspire an entire generation.
“This (ODI) World Cup was a joy to watch. First of all, for Virat Kohli… I know a lot of people will say or have already said that it (Kohli’s performance) does not matter as India did not win the World Cup,” Lara said during his speech at The Bhawanipur Education Society College, presenting the Tiger Pataudi Memorial Lecture – an initiative by The Bengal Club and The Telegraph.
Acknowledging Kohli’s impact on and off the field, Lara highlighted the Indian captain’s discipline and commitment. He emphasized that Kohli, even at 35, continues to set records and change the face of cricket, leaving a lasting legacy.
Lara shared his perspective on the balance between team success and individual success in cricket. While team achievements are paramount, he stressed the importance of recognizing an individual’s consistent success, as demonstrated by Kohli throughout the World Cup.
Lara explained, “Team sport is about winning, and you, as an individual player, have to have that as your No.1 target. But a subsidiary of team success is individual success, and that is what Kohli has given India match after match throughout the World Cup. Now, that did not impress me because the man is capable of much more. (But) what impresses me most about Kohli is his true legacy… For he has changed the face of cricket and how you prepare for the game. The discipline that he has stands out, always.”
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Brian Lara’s insights into Kohli’s contributions were shared during his speech at The Bhawanipur Education Society College, where he presented the Tiger Pataudi Memorial Lecture – an initiative by The Bengal Club and The Telegraph. Lara’s speech provided a platform to defend Kohli’s remarkable achievements.
Brian Lara expressed confidence in Kohli’s ability to leave an enduring legacy, transcending the pursuit of World Cup trophies. Lara applauded Kohli for changing the face of cricket and becoming a source of inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide.
“Being the superstar that he is and the legacy that I feel he can leave, Kohli woke up one day, turned on the television, and there was a left-hander on the screen facing the English bowling (referring to himself). But as in India, there are 100-odd channels, and he came across a right-hander masterly putting together an innings. And Kohli looked to the mirror and said, ‘Left-hand batting isn’t for me. See that man on the screen there. That is the footsteps I look to follow in.’ Who’s that man? Sachin Tendulkar,” added the former West Indies captain.