mid-day specialAustralia’s golden great and a member of Sir Don Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles, Neil Harvey hopes that the India captaincy will cool down angry young man, Virat Kohli.

“I think Kohli is full of his own importance really. Somebody has to teach him a lesson and maybe captaincy will help him a bit. That (responsibility) can do him a world of good, but we shall see,” Harvey (86) told mid-day from Sydney yesterday. “I would like to see Kohli behave himself better. He seems to be over-impressed by his ability. I think he’s a bit big-headed. He gets under the Australians’ skin. I don’t mind him doing that because they get under a lot of people’s skin and now they are getting a bit of it back.”

Virat Kohli. Inset: Neil Harvey.
Virat Kohli celebrates his century on Day Three of the third Test against Australia at Melbourne on December 28, 2014. Pic/Getty Images. Inset: Neil Harvey.

Harvey’s pungent views notwithstanding, he appears to be an admirer of the new India Test captain: “Kohli performed very well on India’s last tour here (2011-12). I recognised him as an up-and-coming star and he has really lived up to that. He’s a fine player, his technique is superb, plays straight all the time and can defend when he has to. He has got everything going for him and he’ll only get better.”

Harvey, who made his debut against India in the Adelaide Test of the 1947-48 series as a 19-year-old, will witness three days of next week’s Sydney Test. While he is impressed by India’s top order, he frowns upon the lower half.

“You’ve got three to four good players, but the second half of the batting is pretty awful. Vijay is good, Kohli is excellent, Rahane is good too but from there on, it is pretty ordinary,”
said Harvey.

He expected Australia to win all the Tests so far, but felt the hosts were done in by the Melbourne pitch in the last Test. “That wicket was a shocker — the deadest wicket I’ve ever seen. It had nothing in it and the match could have lasted 10 days the way it was going. They (curators, administrators) must do something for the bowlers. There is too much going for the batsmen today,” said Harvey.

During his 79-Test career, Harvey scored 6149 runs with 21 centuries. The left-hander undertook two successful Test tours to India in 1956-57 and 1959-60.