Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 3rd day January 26, 2012

Kohli pleased to perform despite verbal battle


Virat Kohli has said his first Test century is all the more special because he had to go through a verbal barrage from Australian fielders to get there, and that he gave it back verbally and still got there. He also spoke about the abusive crowds, which he said was an uneven battle because the crowds get away with it and the players end up getting fined or banned.

Kohli said there had been sledging throughout the day, but it reached a "low point" after he nearly ran himself out in desperation to get to his 100th run. "Hilfenhaus said something to me, which was totally unnecessary and out of the blue," Kohli said. "He wasn't even bowling or doing anything. I survived that run-out. He said something to me, which I can't obviously say in a press conference. I gave it back to him. 'You didn't even have anything to do with it, why would you do that?'

"Ishant and me both came together, and started saying stuff to them. They got really pissed [off] with it, I guess, and I usually play my cricket like that. I gave it back, so whatever happened at the end of the day I am pretty happy with what I did."

The sledging battle between David Warner and Ed Cowan, and Kohli has been an ongoing one. Today, though, Kohli said both of them congratulated him on getting his hundred, and Ricky Ponting tried to calm things down too. Kohli said he was never going to take abuse from anyone.

"To give it back verbally and then score a hundred is even better," he said. "I mean, we don't go out there to take any kind of stuff from anyone. We are international cricketers as well. They should know that. We need to let them know that. Be it in any way. By talking and by performing. It's much more satisfying.

"They sledge when they get frustrated. Obviously it was hot out there, and constantly they were sledging the players so they could spoil our concentration. During that partnership they went really, really low.

"In Sydney they were after me because I wasn't scoring. Today they were pissed [off] because I got a hundred so it hasn't changed much, but the reasons have changed."

Peter Siddle said he didn't mind that kind of sparring with Kohli. "I think he has [had a lot to say] but that's part of his game, he's a tough competitor and he's shown that," Siddle said. "He goes out there, has a bit of a chirp in the field, but he digs in when he's got the bat in his hand. That's the way Australia's played the game in the past, and that's the way we like to play it. It's good fun, a good contest, I like coming up against him and he's a good player. It's a nice challenge to have out there, and that's what people want to watch in Test cricket."

The sledging on the field might have turned out to be an even contest, but Kohli was more annoyed with the fan abuse. He was asked if the Australia players got abused just as badly in India. "I don't know about that," Kohli said. "I haven't spoken to Australian players about that. It is really, really frustrating at times because they say stuff which shouldn't be said on a cricket field.

"We have gone there to play, not to be abused like that. If they have come here [to the ground] to enjoy the game, they should do that. Not get drunk and abuse players. It's not fair on players. If the player says anything, they are fined and banned. The crowd can just say anything and go home. It should be played in a fair way."

After scoring his maiden century in his eighth match, Kohli also asked for more patience with youngsters coming into Test cricket. Kohli was under immense pressure after his failures in Melbourne and Sydney, with calls for him to be dropped, and had to work hard to come out of that mental state.

"They [the youngsters] are all waiting for their opportunities," Kohli said. "They are as talented or as skilled as any youngster that gets a chance in the team. All of them are eager to play. Putting too much pressure on someone initially, it's not fair on the guy. You need to let the guy blend into a certain format. Some people start well, some people take time, so you have got to have patience with someone who comes in. All the players who have got chances are good enough. And the day they are mentally even tougher and more sure of themselves, they will be consistent in Test cricket."

This tour has been an emotional journey for Kohli. He watched India lose a Test they could have won, and been involved with crowd abuse and sanctioned for it. He has been the person most sledged by Australia, but he has also been the only Indian to score a century. However, he said he didn't want to get carried away with it.

"I still maintain it's a learning curve for me," Kohli said. "I don't want to say I am established in Test cricket, but I am learning with every game. As long as I can learn and perform at the same time I am going to become a better cricketer everyday, and that's my aim right now."

Kohli didn't get to the century without hiccups, though. Two lower-order batsmen fell while he was in the 90s and that reminded him of Perth, where he was left stranded. "After tea, we lost two wickets in two balls again," he said. "I was pretty frustrated at that point of time. That something like Perth shouldn't happen again. The next over I decided to go after Harris so that I could get runs and finally, when I got the 100th run, I was on cloud nine. Starting your cricket as a young kid, you always dream of achieving a Test century, and that first one is always the most special."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on January 28, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Kohli has got spunk. Tell him to stop whining and make him India's captain. Get rid of all the seniors and build a team around KOHLI. There's no shortage of talent in India. At this point, ROHIT SHARMA, PUJARA and KOHLI are better batsmen than the Big 3. RAHANE and MUKUND are better openers than GAUTI and VIRU. ASHOK DINDA and IRFAN PATHAN are better bowlers than ISHANT and VINAY.

  • Andrew on January 28, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    @zenboomerang - I have been nothing but respectful about the entire Indian side, there is only only player who I don't rate in their side. There are SOME Indian fans who I think are fools though, quite a few good ones & some that are hot & cold. Get down from the high horse fella!

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Mitcher, Virat is neither POOR nor OLD. He surely is the Angry Young Man of Indian Cricket and really a welcome change from the others who have got IPL money running in theircold- blooded veins, instead of the pride and fervour of playing for your country. Clearly, this young man has it ALL, to be the next Captain of India, and with the likes of the Ashwins, Ishants and Pujaras, script the next golden chapter in the annals of Indian cricket.

    And then... what's it with a bit of slanging with the kangaroos.. a case of the pot calling the kettle black, even after you've won... come on, buddy !!

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    I think the BCCI should take up this matter of "sledging" with the ICC. Get rules framed whereby sledgers are warned, fined, banned.

  • Mick on January 27, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Poor ol' Virat. Life's tough for a millionaire cricketer. Hilf might not have had anything to do with the near run out on day 3. But he sure played a fair role in the ACTUAL run out on day 4. If this sort of comment came from a statesman like Dravid I might give it a second thought but from the most offensive, abusive, scowling player in the Indian side, it's nothing short of comical. Equally, I was disappointed when Warner revealed details of verbal battles in an earlier test. All teams engage in these things at some point. Leave it on the field.

  • Cameron on January 27, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: you really need to get it right! Kohli is THE one who baited both Cowan & Warner the first morning of the first test! Not the other way around. If you don't like it, don't dish it. Australians will always return fire with interest.

  • Charindra on January 27, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    I agree with Kohli on one thing, and that is the fan abuse. It's ridiculous, and managed to put Muralitharan off everytime he visited. Disgraceful.

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    @cpt.meanster- mate, remember 1996 world cup semi finals. SL vs Ind. when indians were losing, crowed went nuts and couldnt control their rage. started throwing bottles at srilankan players,then put stadium on fire. Also i wonder why any other team wont get sludged like indian team.

  • Jay on January 27, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @Meety: Well if Kholi has given the Aussies a valid reason to taunt him then I am afraid the Aussies are in for a nightmare in India. You reap what you sow 'mate'. The traffic in the country where I live moves in both directions, not just one. Maybe the rules are different in Australia. So it's okay for the Aussies to bad mouth the Indians ? that's what you are saying. I feel sorry for you and everyone who thinks along similar lines.

  • Sam on January 27, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Stop whinging Kohli. If you cant take it then find some other hobby. Have a pet! These results show who the true world champions are. Indian team won the WC by fluke, just like in 1983.

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