Border, Lehmann defend Kohli

Border, Lehmann defend Kohli

Australian great Allan Border feels cricket needs 'characters' like Virat Kohli.

Former Australia captain Allan Border has come to the defence of Virat Kohli, saying his antics might be over the top but the game needs more "characters" who show "passion".

The Indian skipper has come under criticism for his sledging and heated exchanges with Australian counterpart Tim Paine during the tense second Test in Perth, which at one point needed the umpire to intervene.

Former pacer Mitchell Johnson also slammed Kohli for failing to acknowledge the crowd's applause after he was controversially given out in the first innings for 123, and for his frosty handshake with Paine at the end of the game.

Kohli's animated wicket celebrations have also been widely frowned upon while India legend Sunil Gavaskar hit out at his "selection blunders".

But Border leapt to the Indian captain's defence, saying the game needed players like Kohli.

"I haven't seen anyone sort of carry on so much as a captain when his side takes a wicket," he said in a Fox Sports podcast Thursday.

"It's really over the top but it's good in a way. You can see some passion about what he's trying to do.

"There's not many characters in our game at the moment," Border added.

"The professional era has sort of beaten that out to a certain degree. It's good to see guys with that passion, drive and a bit of character."

Border said he believed Kohli was passionate by nature, but also motivated by a "quiet" squad and the desire to win India's first ever series in Australia.

"To drive the team to be number one, which he's achieved, but to win away from home is one of those important things you notice as a captain," he said. "I think he's feeling that pinch."

Excitable character 

An "excitable character" who wants to win at all times, that's how former Australian coach Darren Lehmann described Virat Kohli and said there was nothing wrong with the Indian captain's on-field conduct.

Lehmann said Kohli is entertaining to watch.

"Virat Kohli is very passionate. So that's what you get from him on the field and that's what he will always give you. He is an excitable character. He enjoys his challengers, and he wants to win," Lehmann told PTI.

"Not only for himself, he wants his country to win. It was good to see out there and I thought it was good banter," he said.

Lehmann made light of Kohli's confrontation with Australian skipper Tim Paine.

"Neither Kohli nor Tim Paine crossed the line. It was good banter, and it came across as a bit of fun on the stump mics," he said.

"You have to show passion when you are playing for your country and I don't have any issue with what happened. There shouldn't be any drama about what happened in Perth.

"You just have to make sure it is never personal and play the game in right spirit. Rest, I am sure they will sort it out after the game or after the series," he said.