Former Australian seamer Mitchell Johnson on Wednesday said that India skipper Virat Kohli was disrespectful to Australian skipper Tim Paine after losing the 2nd Test at Perth. In a column on Fox Sports, the left-armer wrote, “At the end of the match you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say ‘great contest’. 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.”
The 38-year-old further added that Kohli gets away with a lot of indiscipline because of his stature as a player. “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.”
Johnson further said that he did not mind the little verbal spat between Paine and Kohli on the field during the Test. But he asserted that the Indian captain has not stayed true to his words he made before the start of the series that he is a changed person.
“Overall the banter out on the field was fine and I really enjoyed seeing the Indian four-pronged attack going hard at the Australians both verbally and with the ball. It got the crowd going and it is great for the game. However, Kohli has contradicted the things he said at the start of the series. He said he was a changed person – that he was coming in with a different attitude to last time and wasn’t going to initiate anything. What we saw this Test says otherwise,” he said.
The former Aussie pacer further took exception to Kohli’s frustration on the controversial catch by Peter Handscomb after he scored a ton in the first innings. “In the first innings he scored a brilliant hundred and walked off to a standing ovation but he failed to acknowledge the crowd because he felt hard done by after Peter Handscomb’s catch. 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. I was not impressed that he opted not to do the press conference that night. He was going to get asked about the Handscomb catch so he sent out young quick Jasprit Bumrah instead to take the heat,” he wrote.
Johnson further added that Kohli does not behave like a captain should and backed Paine for standing up for the team. “He is the No.1 batsman in the world at the moment and what he does for his team is great but I’m not sure this is how your captain should behave,” Johnson wrote. “At the end of the day Tim Paine has handled himself superbly. He was not going to bow down to the Indian captain and he stood up for his team. That’s what the captain should do and he did it in the right manner,” he added.
Johnson further recalled the 2014 incident between him and the Indian captain when he threw the ball at him, that led to a verbal joust on the field. “It should be said that Kohli and I have our differences and it all stems back to 2014 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when he drove a ball back to me and I threw it back. I was aiming for the stumps because he had left his crease, but unfortunately the throw hit him instead. I apologised immediately because that obviously was not my intention but it sparked a heated debate. After play he came out and said he had “no reason to respect” me. He lost me then,” he wrote.
But the bowler added that he would be open to talk over the issues between the two over a cup of coffee. “If he ever wanted to sit down for a coffee to chat about our differences, I would be open to it but I’m sure he has better things to do,” he wrote.