Virat Kohli warns Australian ‘buddies’: I know where to draw line of friendship

Virat Kohli, Indian cricket team captain, said that though he is friends with some of the Australian players, he may not show them the same courtesy, while on field during the Test series.

cricket Updated: Feb 22, 2017 16:59 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Pune
Virat Kohli,Indian cricket team,Australian Cricket team
Virat Kohli-led India face Steven Smith-led Australia in a four-Test series, starting on Thursday.(Getty Images)

Virat Kohli, Indian cricket team captain, on Wednesday reiterated coach Anil Kumble’s claim stating that his side wasn’t treating the Australian side in a different manner but was more focussed on his team’s strength going into the four-match series.

“All the teams we had played were good quality teams. Australia is no different. We are not treating this series different from any others in the past,” he said at a media interaction here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday.

“England was a very tough series. To start off with a draw, which wasn’t a convincing draw from our side, it was more of not letting the opposition win from there on. We don’t need to focus too much on the opposition. At the same time we respect them. Last game we respected Bangladesh equally. Every opposition has to be respected on equal terms.”

Read | India vs Australia: Steven Smith-led Aussies to reshuffle batting order

Competitive spirit

Kohli, who is known to not mince his words, further added that he wasn’t thinking too much into why the likes of David Warner and Glenn Maxwell have been praising him ahead of the series; something unfamiliar with previous visiting Australian sides.

“See, I am really good friends with them. But I know where to draw the line of friendship as well. When you step on to the field, I could be playing against my real brother (but) it doesn’t matter,” Kohli said. “So it’s fine, if they had to criticise me, I would have been okay with it, it’s not something coming out of my mouth. So I have no control over it. I don’t know the reason behind it, there might not be any reason; I am not here to speculate.”

Read | India vs Australia: Five infamous controversies that rocked the clash of titans

‘People lacked patience with me’

He also took on critics who used to lambast him for his over-aggressiveness and slam his attitude on and off the field. He thanked coach Kumble for channelling his aggression, but added that he had been working on it himself as well.

“A lot of people lacked patience with me initially. They wanted me to be a 35-year-old matured guy when I was 22, which doesn’t really happen,” he said. “I have gone through my gradual process. People writing articles or speaking about certain things, that’s their job, I have no control over it. They have to write or criticise or not criticise; that’s not in my control. I focus on my game and that’s the priority for me. Anil Bhai channelled it much better in terms of his experience. He was a very aggressive player in his head as well. But he knew when to use that aggression and how to channel it. So he has helped me in that aspect a little bit.”

Read | India vs Australia: Five talking points ahead of Virat Kohli & Co.’s Aussie test

Kohli said he expected his side to come out on top, given that they have been in a good run and being at peace mentally was more important for the combinations to click. “If you’re not feeling good mentally, you could have any combination you are up against or you could play with any combination, that won’t work. We are in good space as a team and are not bothered about the opposition combination,” Kohli said.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 16:47 IST