IND vs AUS: Happy to play without altercations, says Virat Kohli

Updated: Nov 16, 2018, 14:31 IST | Harit N Joshi

Indian skipper Virat Kohli says he does not need to find reasons to get pumped up during the upcoming Test series Down Under

India skipper Virat Kohli. Pic/AFP
India skipper Virat Kohli. Pic/AFP

If the Australians are thinking of engaging Virat Kohli in verbal volleys to fluster the Indian skipper's focus during the much-anticipated four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy series next month, their attempts may end up being futile. For, Kohli made it clear yesterday that any sort of provocation will not have an effect on him.

Kohli came under fire after showing his middle finger to the crowd that had annoyed him during the 2012 Sydney Test. He nearly got slapped a ban for his gesture. Kohli, who was skipper during the last Australia tour in 2014-15 after MS Dhoni's abrupt retirement, smashed four centuries and a half century in the Test series despite the Aussies getting under his skin quite often. His verbal duel with the now-retired Mitchell Johnson and being labelled a "spoilt brat" worked in his favour as he smashed 692 runs in eight innings.

"On a personal level, I don't need to go and find these things [altercations or arguments] anymore. I can play without pumping myself up," said Kohli on the eve of team's departure to Australia yesterday. There is good reason for Australia to be wary of sledging Kohli this time. With 11 Test series victories under his belt since the 0-2 loss in Australia, Kohli said: "I am completely okay to play without an altercation. I am very happy to play in my own space."

The India captain said he realised that it was immature on his part to get involved in altercations during his early days. "Those were very immature things that I would feed on in my early days. Now, being the captain of the Indian team, you literally have no room apart from thinking at all times what the team want," he said. Clashes between India and Australia have never been short of drama.

Though Kohli & Co want cricket to be the focus, the skipper warned that his team will not hold back if the Australians start shooting from lips. "We were never the ones starting it. As long as it does not start, we don't mind focussing on our game and doing what we need to do. We don't necessarily need to look out for them [fights]. If they want to play in a certain way, we will reciprocate. We will not let our intensity drop," Kohli said.

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