Indian cricket, always a spectator sport, has undergone a massive transformation over the last couple of decades. In the 1990s, spectators and fans were aggressive, but they too sensed 'fear' once everyone's favourite hero Sachin Tendulkar was back in the hut. This fear was reflected in the Indian cricket team on several occasions, when they fell apart like a house of cards after Sachin's wicket. Those were the days when everyone admired the 'fearless' and 'aggressive' attitude of the Aussies. Australian cricketers have remained the same over the years, but young Indian cricketers have now developed an aggression that helps bring out their 'A' game on the pitch.
A prime example is current Indian sensation Virat Kohli, who is so aggressive and fearless that you could well mistake him for an Australian player, going by his fierce game! He wears his heart on his sleeve, and you need not look anywhere else to know India's fate in a cricket match, as his face emotes it all. He sledges not only with the opposition, but, also with the opposition's home crowd (while playing an away game). The love that Kohli receives from his fans has helped him to rise continuously, while the hate towards underperforming has challenged him to do better, and this keeps him invested in his game! This is evident every time he wears his Indian jersey, proudly walks to the pitch and delivers a superlative innings for Team India.
Team India's aggression or fearlessness does not stop at Kohli – other players like Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah are known for their aggressive behaviour and excellent outings on the pitch. The Indian side is blessed with a captain like MS Dhoni, who may not be the 'in your face' aggressor, but is as fearless as anyone in world cricket! This 'fearless' and 'hate to lose' attitude of Indians even in the face of defeat has enabled our cricket team to snatch several wins from the jaws of defeat in recent years. For example, India won the Champions Trophy final in 2012 against England in their own den, when everything seemed lost in a truncated game; it was the bowlers led by Ishant Sharma who brought us back into play.
Team India has remained fearless even in adversity, and has come back solidly despite being in a total mess in tough overseas tours. A recent case in point was the Australian tour earlier this year when we lost 4 ODIs on the trot. Yet, we won the final ODI chasing a score in excess of 330 against the mighty Aussies.
To quote onscreen fighting legend Rocky Balboa: "It's all about how much you can get hit, and keep moving forward – that's how WINNING is done"! To their credit, the Indian side has taken many hits but has bounced back more fearsome than ever. That's the true hallmark of a champion team!
The new breed of Indian players is perfecting the art of translating aggression into winning habits. Their 'love' for cricket fuels their passion, while the feeling of 'hate' (towards losing a game) is the driver of all their performances. 'Love' and 'hate' co-exist, but at the end, it is the game that matters.
Virat Kohli, the current superstar of Indian cricket has risen above it all and made it to the big league. There couldn't have been a better ambassador for the #FeelLoveUseHate campaign, as depicted in this video by adidas.Watch him exude equal parts of menace and the promise of victory against all odds. And in case you want to see how much you feel love and how well you use hate- try out this game by adidas and who knows, you may win yourself something special.