Team India skipper Virat Kohli and Australian captain Tim Paine were at loggerheads during the recently-concluded second Test of the four-match series at the Optus stadium in Perth. Former Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson, on Wednesday, slammed visiting captain Virat Kohli as “disrespectful” and “silly” for his on-field antics during the Perth Test. “At the end of the match, you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say ‘great contest’,” Johnson wrote in a column for Fox Sports.
“Virat Kohli could not do that with Tim Paine, shaking the Australian captain’s hand but barely making eye contact with him. To me, that is disrespectful.
“Kohli gets away with more than most cricketers simply because he is Virat Kohli and he gets placed on a pedestal but this Test left the Indian captain looking silly,” he added.
The two skippers were involved in heated exchanges during the game that Australia won by 146 runs.
It was reported that Kohli belittled Paine as just “a stand-in captain”, although the The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) angrily denied he said it.
However, after the match both Kohli and Paine attempted to play down their on-field banter, which was often picked up by stump microphones.
“As long as there is no swearing the line doesn’t get crossed,” Kohli said. “And no personal attacks.”
The Indian captain, who described the exchanges as “competitive banter” added that the verbal blows during the second Test were nothing as compared to their Australian tour in 2014, when he claimed to have been called a “spoilt brat”.
“Stump mics and cameras… these things are totally irrelevant,” he said. “It stays on the field.”
Paine also said his sparring with Kohli did not get out of hand, adding that he admired Indian skipper’s passion for Test cricket.
“It was a highly competitive Test match from both teams and there was a lot on the line, with both teams desperately wanting to win,” Paine said.
“It (Kohli’s behaviour) was not (worrying) to me, I love it and I’m sure it was great to watch.”
Johnson also blasted Kohli’s failure to acknowledge the crowd’s applause after Peter Handscomb took a controversial catch to dismiss him for a sublime 123 in the first innings.
“To me the catch was given out so you accept it and move on and as a player who has scored a hundred you acknowledge the standing ovation,” he said.
“After play he came out and said he had ‘no reason to respect’ me. He lost me then,” said Johnson.
Johnson and Kohli have history. During India’s last tour of Australia in 2014, Johnson had aimed the stumps, but the ball hit Kohli, who was standing at the striker’s end thus triggering a few verbal exchanges during the Test match at MCG.