'Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player but he can't take the abuse'
South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has described Indian captain Virat Kohli as 'immature' and someone who cannot take abuses, while talking about a face-off between the duo in an Indian Premier League match.
Rabada and Kohli had a verbal exchange during one of the IPL matches between Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kohli is the captain of RCB while Rabada plays for DC.
Asked about that particular face-off with Kohli in the IPL match, Rabada said, "I was just thinking about the game plan, really, but Virat, he hit me for a boundary and then he had a word. And then when you give it back to him, he gets angry.
"I don't get the guy. Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player but he can't take the abuse," Rabada was quoted as saying by 'The Cricket Monthly' from ESPNcricinfo.
Rabada said Kohli always seemed to be angry on the field.
"... But later that evening, on the bus back to the hotel, I asked myself: 'That guy (Kohli) always seems to be angry on the field. Is he really angry?' Then I thought to myself what it would take for me to become really, really angry."
"That is going to happen very few and far times in between. And becoming angry like that - is that what gets him to play well? Do you know what I am saying? I can't psyche myself to be angry."
The 24-year-old Rabada, however, admitted that those things did distract him.
"In fact, for me it just wakes me up, if anything. If somebody comes at me and says, 'I'm going to hit you. I'm going to clobber you. You are soft', it wakes me up because - it's a fight-or-flight response."
Rabada was beaten by Kohli for the ICC's Player of the Year award for 2018. He was also beaten by Kohli to the title of the Test Player of the Year award. But the young South African said Kohli deservingly got those recognitions.
"That is a huge honour. Kohli undoubtedly deserves it. He has been phenomenal. He has been a pillar for Indian cricket over the past five years. You can't fault the guy. It is not something that you play for, but if an award of that calibre comes your way, it is great," said Rabada.
"I feel very honoured to be talked about as the best cricketer in the world without the distinction of being a bowler or a batsman. It is not something that I always think about, but when I do think about it, it gives me goosebumps. At the end of the day I am worried about my craft, I am worried about improving, and I am worried about my team winning."