No reason to respect Mitchell Johnson: Virat Kohli

Updated: Dec 31, 2014, 11:20 IST | PTI |

Faced with a barrage of aggressive bowling and banter, in-form batsman Virat Kohli gave an apt reply to the Australians with his bat at Melbourne; he did not hold back any punches off the field either

Melbourne: Never the one to shy away from an on-field showdown, feisty Indian batsman Virat Kohli said being called a “spoilt brat” by the Australians brought the best out of him as he smashed a career-best 169-run knock to keep the touring side afloat in the ongoing third cricket Test here yesterday.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli falls to the ground after being hit by a throw at the stumps from Mitchell Johnson on Day Three of the third Test at the MCG yesterday. Pic/Getty Images.

“It was going on throughout the day. They were calling me a spoilt brat and I said ‘maybe that’s the way I am. You guys hate me and I like that’. I don’t mind having a chat on the field and it worked in my favour I guess,” a combative Kohli said at the end of third day’s play which India finished at 462-8, still trailing by 68 runs.

Indian batsman Virat Kohli
Class Apart: Virat Kohli en route his 169 against Australia on Day Three of the third Test in Melbourne yesterday

“I like playing against Australia because it is very hard for them to stay calm and I don’t mind an argument on the field and it really excites me and brings the best out of me. So they don’t seem to be learning the lesson,” said Kohli.
The most dramatic moments of the day involved Kohli in a verbal spat with Mitchell Johnson after the pacer ended up hitting the Indian while attempting to run him out.

Talking about Johnson, Kohli said, “In Brisbane he was batting without pressure because that’s not his job. His job is to take wickets and he was going at 4.7 an over today, and he didn’t get a wicket throughout the day and I backed myself to take him on even if I keep talking to him. I decided whenever he comes on to bowl I will back myself and take him on. I don’t mind having a word back, neither does he, so we kept going at it.”

Oz have the right to talk
Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put on 262 runs for the fourth wicket in reply to Australia’s first innings total of 530 runs. “They have the right to talk. They are 2-0 up right now. It would have been interesting if it had been 1-1 and the same sort of sentences or words had come through from them. When you are on top you can sort of say anything you want.

“It’s when chips are down that you have got to stand up. When we played in India (in 2012-13) there weren’t so many words coming back from them. We are 2-0 down, we still took them on today, and showed what we can do with the bat, which is the character of this Indian team,” said a defiant Kohli. When asked if he respected the Australian team, Kohli replied, “I have got a nice friendship with a few of them. I respect quite a few of them, but someone who doesn’t respect me I have no reason to respect him.

“There were words in Adelaide as well where they said no unnecessary respect for him. I said I don’t need it. I am out here to play cricket, not to earn anyone’s respect. As long as I am scoring runs, I am happy with it.”

Kohli said he relishes the challenge of playing against Australia and was delighted with the way the third day turned out for his side.

Why change the game?
“I am very proud of the way we played today and we backed ourselves throughout. Before coming here I told myself I am going to be positive. There is no reason why I should change my game from ODI cricket to Test cricket because sometimes we end up thinking too much and forget about playing our natural game,” said Kohli.

Kohli and Rahane came together at the crease when India were 147-3 in the morning session and then weren’t separated until after tea. They became the first pair to post 200-plus for the fourth wicket at this ground. Rahane scored 147 runs while Kohli scored his fourth Test hundred in Australia and third of this series. “I was criticised for not getting big hundreds. It is disappointing to get out on 115 or 120 after having done all the hard work so those are the times when I told myself to take more time. It’s all about correcting your mistakes. Next time, I will want to convert it into a double hundred,” Kohli signed off.

3: Number of centuries Virat Kohli has scored in the series against Australia so far. He became only the second Indian batsman after Sunil Gavaskar to achieve the feat

Is Kohli right in hitting back at the Aussies?

The hitting back approach is good when your form is good. Once your form dips, it’s different. Remember all these things are aimed at unsettling a batsman. The days of taking things lying down have long gone but if you can give it back without losing the poise needed to succeed, then it’s fine. This is not to say that you are taking it lying down by being reticent. It depends on player to player.
— Shishir Hattangadi, former Mumbai captain

To each is own. If this is what makes Virat Kohli tick then go ahead and do it.
— Aakash Chopra, former India opener (Test tour to Australia: 2003-04)

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