Sports Cricket 07 Apr 2016 Mitchell Johnson rev ...

Mitchell Johnson reveals origin of Virat Kohli rivalry

AGENCIES | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Apr 7, 2016, 1:36 am IST
Updated Apr 7, 2016, 1:36 am IST
Despite a few heated exchanges with Kohli over the years, Johnson concedes he holds a great respect for the 27-year-old.
 Despite a few heated exchanges with Kohli over the years, Johnson concedes he holds a great respect for the 27-year-old.

Melbourne: Former Australia fast-bowler Mitchell Johnson has revealed the moment his ongoing rivalry with India superstar Virat Kohli kicked off. Johnson, who retired from international cricket this summer, caused a stir ahead of Australia’s clash with India at the World T20 when he tweeted Kohli “went missing” during last year’s ODI World Cup semi-final against Australia.

The Indian firebrand responded by slamming 82 off 51 balls to lead his side to victory and consigned Australia to a group-stage exit. And now Johnson has described the incident that led to the beginning of their heated relationship. “We’ve had our differences and most of it stems from the 2014 (MCG) Test, when a ball I threw hit Virat on the body,” he wrote in his column for Fox Sports.
“I was legitimately trying to run him out but he didn’t like what I did. When he made some comment in the media that night about having no respect for me as a player, that’s when I got really annoyed.”

Johnson raised his hand to the batsman in apology, but the incident sparked Kohli, as the pair exchanged words when Kohli edged the next delivery through a vacant third-slip area.

Despite a few heated exchanges with Kohli over the years, Johnson concedes he holds a great respect for the 27-year-old. They will likely resume their rivalry in the Indian Premier League when Johnson’s Kings XI Punjab take on Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 9. “Virat is the kind of player you’d want in your team,” Johnson admitted. “He’s a real fighter and to be honest he’s a bit like most of us were in the Australian team. We go pretty hard on the field, and he’s got that about him as well. “The fact he plays the game like us is probably why we’ve rubbed each other the wrong way. If I sit back and digest it properly, we’re actually quite similar in the way we approach the game.

“He’s a fiery character and he pushes the boundaries, just like I’ve always tried to do. Maybe that’s why we’ve clashed so often. “I can’t wait to come up against him and his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates later in the IPL.”

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