Virat Kohli termed the relentless trolling of Ravi Shastri as ‘agenda-driven’, saying the India coach is least affected by the perception that he is widely touted as the captain’s ‘yes man’. Kohli places coach Shastri in the highest of ranks purely for his cricketing achievements and his knowledge of the game. The equation between the duo has often made fans and critics question over Shastri’s credibility at the helm of affairs in Team India.

On Saturday, Kohli came in all-out the support of his ‘Guru’ (Shastri) and hit out at the critics for continuously trolling of the former India all-rounder. He also added that India coach is least affected by the perception that he is the captain’s yes man. “Get up, face the fast bowlers with ‘courage’ and ‘without helmet’, average 41 as an opener” — Kohli mentioned all that Shastri did as a player in his scathing riposte to the current coach’s critics.

Earlier, this year Shastri was reappointed as India’s head coach for the second consecutive time. The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of – Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy unanimously ruled the verdict out in favour of former India all-rounder.

“I think most of these things are agenda-driven and I don’t know whose, why, what for, but to accept lies in that manner, it couldn’t be anything but agenda-driven,” Kohli told India Today on its special show ‘Inspiration’.

“… In Ravi bhai’s case, luckily, he is a person that doesn’t care at all.”

Starting out as a slow left-arm spinner, Shastri went on to open the innings for India and also won the famous ‘Champion of the Champions’ Award in the 1985 World Series Cricket, and Kohli touched upon all that while offering his unequivocal support to the head coach.

“(Promoted from) number 10 to opener and got an average of 41 as an opener, he is not going to be bothered about someone sitting at home and trolling him, because if you want to troll a guy who has done that, then get up, face those bowlers, do what he has done, have the clarity to do it, have the courage to do it, then have a debate with that guy,” Kohli said in his message to the trolls.

“He is absolutely chilled out, he says our only focus is how we can be the best team of all time. I think these petty things on the outside, they don’t matter at all to him.”

While Sachin Tendulkar is the one he looks up to among cricketers, Kohli’s favourite in the sporting world is ace footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. “I think Cristiano Ronaldo because I like the fact that is targeted on a daily basis but he has the mental strength, the will to work hard and the desire to keep coming back.

“For me those things matter more than someone having absolute unreal natural ability, which is (Lionel) Messi, so I am in awe of Ronaldo.”

Kohli has made a habit of creating records, something that has often drawn comparisons with his idol, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. “Well I don’t know how to explain it I mean I just hate losing. Basically I hate losing in anything, that is how a sportsman is made up, that is the makeup of any sportsman competing at the highest level,” he said.

“I don’t want any maybe, I don’t what any ifs, when I walk on to that field it is an honour for me, and when I walk out I want to have zero energy left.

“I’m actually always trying to avoid that feeling and that’s why I go along about my work in a crazy manner. I just have to put all my effort into every ball that I play, field or I am a part of,” Kohli signed off.