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Melbourne Test: Let Virat Kohli say what he wants, says Warner

Australia opener remains unfazed by Kohli's on and off the field aggression at the MCG

Melbourne: Unfazed by Virat Kohli’s aggressive body language on the field and no-holds-barred criticism off it, Australian opener David Warner today said the Indian is free to play the way he wishes and the ICC is there to manage if anybody crosses the line.

Virat Kohli exchanges words with Australia's Mitchell Johnson. Inset: David Warner.
Virat Kohli exchanges words with Australia's Mitchell Johnson on Day Three of the third Test at the MCG on Sunday. Pic/Getty Images. Inset: David Warner.

Australia have the upperhand in the ongoing third Test, having accumulated a 326-run lead at the end of the fourth day yesterday. Tempers are also rising with Kohli taking on the Aussies with his own brand of aggression, going to the extent of stating that he only respect some of the home players after a showdown with Mitchell Johnson on more than one occasion.

Kohli vs Johnson
Even yesterday, Johnson was given quite a send-off by Kohli after being dismissed. The incident transpired in the 68th over of Australia’s second innings when Mohammed Shami dismissed Johnson following which Kohli was seen speaking to the batsman.

In return, Johnson also had something to say, but it was not clear whether his talk was directed at Kohli or was a complaint to the umpires as the two on-field officials did have a word with the Indian after that.

“I didn’t see what they said to Mitchell Johnson but obviously Kohli was lurking around Brad Haddin. If that’s the way he wants to go about his cricket then let him be. At the end of the day we also play cricket the aggressive way. Though I personally feel that whatever happens on the field should stay on the field.

Keep it on the field
“It shouldn’t be brought off the field,” Warner said after the hosts put themselves in a comfortable position by taking an overall lead of 326 runs by the end of fourth day’s play. Australia were 261-7 at close on a rain-hit day at the MCG after India’s first innings folded for 465, adding just three runs to their overnight score.

When asked about Kohli’s lack of respect comments made on Sunday, Warner replied: “That’s his opinion as he had got 160-odd runs. So let him say what he wants to say. Whether it’s the right thing to say or not, it’s up to him. There is a line you cannot cross and it is for the ICC to manage with their fines and warnings. When we talk about sledging and stuff, physical contact and verbal swearing is where we draw the line.”

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