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Virat Kohli is more aggressive than Sachin Tendulkar, says Jeff Thomson

India Today logo India Today 03-06-2016

It was January 2016 when Jeff Thomson, perhaps one of the fastest bowlers to have played the game, was being inducted in Australia's Hall of Fame. The visiting Indian team was in the country at the time and Test skipper Virat Kohli decided to have his fanboy moment with the Australian legend. "Thommo, I just wanted to meet you," said Kohli.

SILENT ADMIRER

Little did he know that the fast bowling great, who terrorised batsmen during his playing days, had been a silent admirer of his for long. "Mate, I saw you when you were young, loved your attitude, the way you gave it back to the Aussies," Thomson recalls having told Kohli.

"And that was me telling a batsman," he told India Today Television stressing on the word 'me', outlining the weight of the compliment. It was a fast bowler and an Aussie lauding an young Indian batsman for giving it back to them.

Kohli's love affair with Australia is well documented. His 75 at Perth followed by a hundred at Adelaide in the 2012 series signalled the arrival of Kohli - the Test batsman. Subsequently, Kohli has struck many more ODI hundreds there. Australia is also the place where Kohli first led India in a Test match after MS Dhoni's shock retirement.

Thomson said his admiration for Kohli has been from much earlier. "I am not saying because of what he is now but I have always loved Virat from the day I saw him. I liked him from the time he first came to Australia and was a nobody. I thought this kid can bat. I just liked his attitude," he said.

'A BIT LIKE VIV'

Kohli's heroics in the World T20 and appetite to score big in this year's Indian Premier League has led to him being compared with former batting greats. And Thomson's estimation of Kohli has now become even more pronounced.

"To me, he bats with a fast bowlers tenaciousness. He gives it back same way it is dished out to him. A bit like Viv Richards," he said.

'AGGRESSIVE THAN SACHIN'

"He is more aggressive than Sachin. Sachin may have been aggressive with the bat but Virat is outwardly aggressive. Like all good batsmen you talk your tongue with the bat. He talks the talk and walks the walk. He backs it up," he added.

However, not everyone in world cricket is happy with Kohli's exuberance on the field, sometimes bordering on dissent but Thomson don't want him to change. "Look if he was in my team and I was the coach I would just love it. If I was a 'bowler' in my side, I would want to carry on like that" he says.

Quite clearly the next time India go to Australia, amongst the many sporting Australian cricket fans who would queue up to watch Kohli bat, Thomson would be in the first row.

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