Aggressive? Love it, says Kumble of India’s Kohli

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BANGALORE: India’s new coach Anil Kumble on Monday said he loved Virat Kohli’s aggression, backing his captain to play his natural brand of cricket which has come in for criticism in the past.

Kumble was speaking ahead of India’s four-Test tour of West Indies, his first assignment with the national team since his appointment last month.

“I love his aggression. I was no different. I was also aggressive (though) very different in terms of the way we probably come across on the field,” he said at a news conference in Bangalore on the eve of departure.

“I’d be the last person to curb someone’s natural aggression. But of course we all know how important it is to be the ambassador of India and to be a part of the Indian cricket team,” said the former spinner, who was India’s most successful bowler in Test and ODI cricket.

Kohli, 27, who took over as Test captain from Mahendra Singh Dhoni against Australia last year, was at the forefront of on-field confrontations during that series, prompting tough scrutiny of his leadership style.

While some critics tagged him as firebrand and a spoilt brat, Kohli has been credited with instilling a more positive mindset among the team, currently ranked second behind Australia in the Test rankings.

Kumble however cautioned his players from crossing the “thin line” and reminded them of their status as role models to adoring fans back home.

“Of course we all know how important it is to the ambassadors of India and to be a part of the Indian cricket team,” he said.

“That everybody in the team understands and we will ensure that,” he said.

After their arrival in the Caribbean on Wednesday, India will play two warm-up matches and four Tests during their seven-week tour.

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