India captain Virat Kohli is known for his temperament on the ground. Be it during batting or fielding, the 31-year-old never falls short of lashing out at the opponents either with words or gesturing and the matter particularly came under the scanner during India’s historic tour of Australia in 2018-19.
Kohli led India to a 2-1 win in the four-Test series to become the first captain from the sub-continent to accomplish the feat. However, Kohli also courted controversies with his on-ground confrontations with the home team.
That the Australians, who themselves have faced the flak for controversial on-field conduct in the past, were not happy with Kohli’s behaviour became evident in Amazon Prime’s new cricket documentary ‘The Test’. It has opened the lid on the Kangaroos’ private fury over Kohli’s on-field acts during the 2018-19 series.
Aussies changed their stance of not confronting Virat Kohli
The Australians had previously vowed not to confront Kohli in the series but some inevitable outbursts during the second match in Perth that Australia won made their head coach Justin Langer change the stance. As shown in episode three of ‘The Test’, the former Australia opener called his players in the dressing room at the Optus Stadium and decided to tackle the Indian captain the way he prefers.
This was contradictory to Australia’s decision to maintain a good conduct in the series against India to erase the bad name they had earned during the infamous Test series in South Africa in March 2018.
“I remember that afternoon (feeling) like a punching bag. We can’t fight back because it felt like we had our hands behind our backs and we just had to take it,” Langer said in the documentary.
“It just felt a bit double standards to me. Imagine if we behaved two out of ten (of) that,” he added.
Australia Test captain Tim Paine seconded Langer’s thought to say enough was enough. Aussie captain Tim Paine also agreed that enough was enough. “The plan was not to talk to him when he was batting, when we were batting it’s kind of up to the individual what they want to do,” the wicket-keeper-batsman, who himself had some verbal duels with Kohli during the series, said.
“I sort of just had enough and thought you also have to stand up for yourself and your teammates and that was one of the reasons I thought, ‘no, I’m the captain, it’s my turn, I have to stand up and show him we’re here for the fight’,” Paine added.
In that Test in Perth, Paine found himself at the receiving end just after he had gone out to bat. “If he messes it up, it’s 2-0. Who’s gonna talk then?” Kohli was caught saying by the stump microphones.
Australia, who were trailing 0-1 at the time by losing the first Test in Adelaide, won the second match by 146 runs to level the series. India then went on to win the third Test in Melbourne and clinched the series after the fourth in Sydney ended in a draw.
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