It's been 13 years since Virat Kohli made his international debut for the Men in Blue and Indian cricket has never been the same since then. The young boy from Delhi came with an aggressive and passionate approach, which attracted a lot of flak and criticism from experts across the globe. However, Kohli was someone who never got bothered with what others had to say. He knew that being his own self will bring the best out of him and it certainly did in years to come, without any doubt.
There was a time when Indian cricketers would not engage in too many banters and fight on the field and only focused on replying with the bat and ball. However, Kohli was not one of them who would ignore the sledging around him. Over the years, whenever he was sledged, he first gave a reply with mouth and then with the bat. The on-field banter fueled his zeal to score runs and became his biggest strength.
There have been numerous occasions over the years when the opposition messed with Kohli and the Indian batsman ensured that they would regret doing the same. Let us have a look at four such famous incidents:
1. Virat Kohli vs Mitchell Johnson (2014)
It was the third Test during India's tour of Australia in 2014 at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Having already won the first two matches, the home side had amassed 530 runs in the first innings and were expecting India to succumb to pressure. However, the visitors showed a lot of courage and character while batting. Virat Kohli was playing a superb counter-attacking innings and was smashing the Aussie bowlers all over the park.
When he was on the brink of a brilliant century, Mitchell Johnson provoked him after throwing a ball straight at Kohli as the Indian batsman was down in some pain. Although the Aussie pacer was quick to apologize, it was quite late as Kohli had already been angered. The right-handed batsman played some glorious shots after that and went on to register a brilliant 169-run knock to prevent Australia from winning the match.
2. Virat Kohli vs James Faulkner (2016)
It was the third ODI between India and Australia and the venue was MCG once again. This is when another left-arm pacer provoked Kohli and the result was the same. As India were batting first, Faulkner bowled three dot deliveries to the Indian batsman in the 35th over before Kohli took a single. As he was coming at non-striker's end, Faulkner took a dig at him reflecting on the fact that he was struggling to score runs.
This is when Kohli replied, "You’re wasting your energy. There’s no point. I’ve smashed you enough in my life. Just go and bowl!" The right-handed batsman scored a century in that match but it was the next ODI when he took his full revenge. Kohli played some mind-blowing shots off Faulkner in the 4th ODI on his way to another century. It was not the end of story as Kohli absolutely smoked the Aussie all over the ground when the two sides locked horns with each other in T20 World Cup 2016 a few months later, giving a perfect lesson to Faulkner.
3. Virat Kohli vs Kesrick Williams (2019)
The whole banter began in 2017 when Virat Kohli was dismissed by Kesrick Williams in Jamaica. This is when the West Indies bowler pulled off his famous 'notebook celebration' which was certainly not appreciated by the right-handed batsman. Two years later, the two teams met again and the duo was once again facing each other in T20I match, this time in Hyderabad.
Williams knew that Kohli would come hard at him, but he didn't know that the Indian skipper would launch a serious assault like what he did that day. Kohli played some thunderous shots and absolutely smashed Williams, and also mockingly pulled off the 'notebook celebration' of the West Indies bowler. While Kohli went on to score 94 runs off 50 balls, Williams' bowling figures read 3.4-0-60-0.
4. Virat Kohli vs James Anderson (2021)
It was the second Test between during India's tour of England 2021 at Lord's and it was full of emotions. Jasprit Bumrah fired in a few bouncers at James Anderson in the first innings which angered the English pacer. Anderson had a few words to say to Bumrah post the innings and Kohli - the captain - was in no mood to forgive the Englishman for his actions.
When he came out to bat, he could not make a valuable contribution by scoring runs but he made sure that he will silence Anderson. During his stay at the crease, Kohli said to Anderson, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. This is what old age makes you do," while also stating that the 39-year-old should not have abused Bumrah. The incident just proved the fact that while it is scary to mess with Kohli, sledging any of his teammates is not safe as the Indian captain will be ready with a reply in that case as well.