India captain Virat Kohli has been a thorn in the eye for many oppositions, but no team likes to test Kohli more that Australia. Over the past few years, Kohli and Australia have been at each other’s throats on the field and have shared a bitter-sweet relation over the years. This time around, the rivalry between Kohli and Australia will not be as intense as the previous tours with Kohli’s scheduled departure back to India after the first Test, but exchange no shortage of intensity as long as he’s around.
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Test captain Tim Paine has admitted that Australia and its players ‘love to hate’ Kohli as competitors but at the same time, as fans, love to watch him bat.
“I get asked a log of questions about Virat Kohli, he’s just another player to me it doesn’t really bother me. There’s not really a relationship there with him to be fair, I see him at the toss and play against him and that’s about it,” Paine told ABC Sport.
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“With Virat it is a funny one, we love to hate him but we also love to watch him bat as cricket fans. He certainly is polarising in that type of scenario. We love watching him bat, but we don’t like seeing him score too many runs.
“Australia and India, it’s a heated competition and he’s obviously a competitive person and so am I, so year there were a few occasions when we had words but that wasn’t because he was the captain and I was the captain, it could have been anyone.
It was against Australia that Kohli scored his maiden Test century in Adelaide way back in 2012. During the tour of 2014, India may have lost the series 0-2, Kohli burned up the charts with 692 runs from four matches, including four hundreds – twin centuries in the first Test in Adelaide. The last time around, Kohli scored 282 runs and led India to a historic Test triumph. With Kohli not around for three of the four Tests, the opportunity is there for Paine’s Australia to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“There is always a bit more tension when a player is as good as he is, it’s the same when you play against England, its Joe Root or a Ben Stokes. It’s often the best player is the one that your team goes up a little bit, the intensity goes up when the best players in the world come out to the crease,” Paine added.
“I’m looking forward to everything to be honest, it’s a huge series. They beat us here last time obviously with a different team, and as I said the rivalry between the two countries building all the time so, I think any time you get to test yourself against the best is something that you look forward to as players and as a team, and we certainly are.”