Brisbane: The heated on-field rivalry between Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson has always been intense when India and Australia have squared off in the past. And when the India skipper stated he was looking forward to a sledge-free tour Down Under, Mitchell Johnson did not miss a chance to take a jibe at his former rival.
Replying to Fox Sports Cricket’s tweet over the flamboyant batsman’s press conference remark, the retired Aussie speedster wrote, “I look forward to no Virat send offs.”
🤣 I look forward to no Virat send offs 🤥— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) November 15, 2018
The Australian players have of late refrained from sledging, which is perfectly fine with Indian captain Virat Kohli, who is happy to compete "without any altercation" during the upcoming series Down Under.
The Australian cricket is going through a massive restructuring and the "win at all costs" strategy employed by teams of yesteryears, is not being encouraged anymore.
Both Kohli and senior-most pacer Ishant Sharma felt that it is entirely up to the Australians as to how they play their cricket but assured that their players won't be the first ones to indulge in any kind of sledging.
"I think that's (no sledging policy) a very personal thing for them. But when it comes to getting engaged in an argument on the field or a fight as people want to call it excitedly, I have been completely ok with playing without the altercation," Kohli told mediapersons at the pre-departure press conference.
Kohli, once criticised for his overtly aggressive behaviour said that he has passed that phase in his career and more matured as an individual.
"I am very happy within my own space, so on a personal level, I don't find any need to go and find these things anymore. I mean, I have enough belief in my abilities. I can play without a reason to pump myself up and those are very immature things that I used to feel during the early days of my career," the skipper said.
As the leader of the national team, he already has too much on his plate and can't afford to think about external matters of little or no consequence.
"Now being captain of the team, you have no room for anything else but to think of what the team wants all the time. So you don't find the need for these things at all and as you said they will not give it back," Kohli said.
However he reminded that his team has never started on anything and only reacted to situations.
"We were always the ones giving it back. We were never the ones starting anything. So as long as it does not start, we have no problem in just focussing on our game and doing what we need to do.
"We don't necessarily need to go and look out for something. If they want to play a certain way, we will reciprocate in that way. That's how the game of cricket goes but at the same time, in our minds, we will have to keep it competitive and not let our energies drop. That will be our main focus," the skipper elaborated.
Senior pacer Ishant said that he didn't mind if Australians sledged like earlier tours because he has the ability to give it back if they start.
"Let's see what Aussies do. We will only come to know once we reach there. You don't expect them to be really friendly and this is a man's sport. You will go there and get tough conditions. When you play for your country, no one will give you easy runs or wickets. If it's a tough sport, then you got to be tough and up for any sort of challenge," Ishant said.