An eye for an eye, the Kohli way, rattles Aussies

Centurion lashes out at home fans for unacceptable behaviour

Beneath the cocky exterior, Virat Kohli has always been a tough kid. The earliest known instance of his toughness came when he bat against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy game hours after the demise of his father in 2006.

Virat Kohli celebrates his century against Australia during their cricket test match in Adelaide, Australia. AP

He has displayed spunk on a number of occasions, but his character might not have been tested like it has been on this tour of Australia. His place in the Test squad was questioned and he was subjected to intense sledging by Australian players and fans.

On Thursday, Ben Hilfenhaus had a go at him after Kohli narrowly escaped a run-out, prompting the Delhi lad to give the Aussie pacer a piece of his mind. In the press conference too, Kohli didn’t hold back anything.

“Hilfenahus said something to me after I survived that run-out, which was totally unnecessary. He wasn't even bowling, and I can't say in a press conference what he said. I gave it back to him. 'You didn't even have anything to do with it, why would you do that?',” said Kohli, who became the first Indian to score a hundred on this tour.

“Ishant and me both came together, and started saying stuff to them. They got really annoyed. 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,” he added.

Kohli said it was a very satisfying hundred for various reasons. “To give it back verbally and then score a hundred is even better. We don't go out there to take any kind of stuff from anyone. We are international cricketers as well and they should know that. We need to let them know that. Be it in any way, by talking and by performing.”

The Delhi lad said Australians sledge when they get frustrated. "It was hot out there, and constantly they were sledging the players so they could spoil our concentration. During that partnership with Saha, they went really, really low. In Sydney, they were after me because I wasn't scoring. Today, it was because I got a hundred. The reasons have changed, the reactions haven’t.”

Kohli had a word about Australian fans too. “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 get abused like that. If they have come to the ground to enjoy the game, they should do that, not get drunk and abuse players. It's not fair to the players. If the player says anything, he is fined and banned. The crowd can just say anything and go home. It should be played in a fair way."

Australian paceman Peter Siddle appreciated Kohli’s effort and attitude. "He’s a tough competitor and he's shown that. He goes out there, has a bit of a chirp, but he digs in when he's got the bat in his hand. That's the way Australia have played the game in the past, and that's the way we like to play it. I like coming up against him, 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,” Siddle said.

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