Tensions flared on the pitch as Indian skipper Virat Kohli got engaged in a verbal duel with rival captain Tim Paine during a Jasprit Bumrah’s over on the fourth day of the Perth Test. On-field umpire Chris Gaffaney had to interrupt as both the skippers were seen exchanging words when Kohli placed himself right close to Tim Paine on the non-striker end.
However, Josh Hazlewood, speaking on the clash during a press conference said, “I think it was all good fun, it’s quite competitive out there as you know and there’s going to be words from time to time but it was all in good spirits.”
Speaking further on the incident, Hazlewood said, “I don’t think we read too much into it, we go about our work as we see fit and the Indians can do what they like. We control what we control and our behaviour is what we control. We’ll worry about that and let everything else take care of itself.”
It worked out well for Australia in the end as Kohli was dismissed for 17 in the second innings as India crashed to 112-5 in their chase. But, Hazlewood said Australia were not targeting a single batsman.
“No definitely not. I probably see Pujara as the big wicket as far as when I’m bowling, the glue that holds them together I think. He’s batted the most balls this series and scored nearly the most runs.I see Pujara as a big wicket and Ajinkya Rahane as well. So the nos. 3, 4, 5 as the key wickets and we see it a bit unstable in the other parts of the order. Certainly, not all the focus is on Virat Kohli,” he said.
Praising Usman Khawaja’s 72-run inning, which placed the hosts in a commanding position, the seamer said, “With Steve and Dave not here, a bit more pressure falls on Usman. I think he’s the most capped batsman with Shaun Marsh. Experience counts a lot in these situations and there are quite a lot of young guys in top six. Usman felt that responsibility a bit more this season and he’s been struggling the first couple of innings but to see him fight today made everyone a bit more relaxed.”
“Tim Paine keeps things quite calm and composed and he doesn’t get too flustered at any stages really and you could see that with the bat today, the way he batted and he was pretty unlucky to get that one today. In the field he leads very well, nice and calm.”
Hazlewood said Paine was getting more confident as a leader, whether with the bat or in the field. “He’s quite an experienced player, and I think he’s had time out of the game as well, so he knows himself quite well, not just as a cricketer but as a person. So off the field he’s great to talk to about life, and the cricket side takes care of itself. He’s been really great,” he signed off.
with inputs from PTI