New Delhi, Feb 11: Former Australia captain and legendary spinner Shane Warne lauded India captain Virat Kohli for the latter's aggressive brand of captaincy and his honest approach toward the game.
Warne who was named the brand ambassador of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals on Sunday (February 10) praised Kohli for standing up for what he believes in. According to Warne, it was this quality of the Delhi cricketer, which made him the most popular cricketer.
"He's fantastic. I love watching him bat and I love listening to him. I am a big fan. You know what he does? He stands up for what he believes in. He speaks how he feels and he's real. He's emotional, a bit too emotional sometimes on the field. But that's the part of the charm," Warne told Times of India, in an interview.
The legendary leg-spinner praised Kohli's competitiveness and pure desire to get the job done.
"I think world cricket loves him. Everyone loves Virat Kohli because it's refreshing to hearing him talk so honestly and openly. He loves confrontation. That's why he has those 100s in chases. How many, 23, 24? The next best is how much? I can't remember who's second. That's something inbuilt into you. That's not skill or talent. He's got a lot of that. That is just pure competitiveness and pure desire - to get the job done," said Warne.
When asked about the controversial chapter of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul when the cricketers were suspended by the BCCI for their sexist remarks on the TV chat show Koffee With Karan.
"We live in a world that's increasingly becoming politically correct. And what we want to see from sportspersons is them being real. We want to see their emotions, see them playing with freedom, expressing themselves. We don't want to see them conforming. For instance, most player interviews these days go like this: Question: Well, that was a fantastic result today. How do you feel? Answer: Well, it was a great team effort. Everybody played well and did their part. I'm just trying my best and happy to contribute to the team - That's what everyone says. Guys have to get more real," said Warne, who found himself at loggerhead with his cricket board and was mired in several controversies during his illustrious career.
After playing a mentor's role for the Royals last season, Warne will be associated with the team in a new role from this year onwards. Warne, who led Rajasthan Royals to its first and only IPL title in 2008, captained the Royals for four seasons until 2011, after which he retired from all forms of cricket.
"I'm very happy to be back with the Royals and I'm grateful to the team and the fans for their constant support. It was important for us to retain our established values but at the same time develop a new and modern identity. I am already in love with the new look of the team and hope the fans will love it too," Warne said.