Speaking to The Guardian, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were all praise for their Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, lauding his off-field attitude despite enjoying such widespread adulation and fame.
Kohli, who will be missing India’s Test against Afghanistan after the IPL so he can join his county side Surrey has been in fine form in the tournament. But Ali is particularly struck by how Kohli manages to keep himself grounded. “He’s so humble, it is almost weird how nice he is,” Ali said. “You see him on the field and people might think he’s arrogant but it is the complete opposite. He’s so humble it is almost weird how nice he is. He’s the biggest name in India but will ring me to check I’m OK or ask if I fancy lunch.”
Ali continued, “Sometimes a player will invite the squad to their house for a meal and it would be easy for him to say no. But he would always go. I can say with certainty that anyone who has a bad word doesn’t know the guy.”
Fast bowler Chris Woakes also added that Kohli will enjoy his County stint, away from the glare of the media at all times. He also observed how having Kohli in the team takes a lot of the attention away from the other players. “In my first year of IPL I found as an overseas player you get a lot of attention walking through airports in India,” Woakes said. “But having him in the team – the No 1, the king – we’re almost irrelevant.”
Finally, Ali concluded by saying, “I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be a lot of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think they are a big dog, they will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming.”