Virat Kohli and Tim Paine Clash – The second test match between Australia and India made headlines not just for the terrific sporting spectacle it was but also due to tempers flaring between the two captains on the field. What had been an innocuous and rather sedate affair in the first test, surprisingly it gave the ominous rivalry between both the sides, that blew up at the Optus Stadium in Perth when Virat Kohli and Tim Paine clashed on day 3 and 4 of the test match.
Both Kohli and Paine had a right go at each other, exchanging verbal blows as the match reached a vital juncture. When Paine came out to bat late on Sunday and missed a drive, Kohli reminded him that a mistake from him would see the Aussies trail 2-0 something that didn’t go down well with Paine.
Paine replied that it was India who had to bat later, and addressed Kohli as ‘big head’ in rebuttal.
That was not the end of the confrontation between the two with Paine continuing his efforts at riling up Kohli on day 4 as well. Both the players had a heated discussion when Paine was on strike with the two squaring off against each other once again, prompting Umpire Chris Gaffaney to step in.
Tim Paine to Virat Kohli: “You’re the one that lost it yesterday, now you’re trying to be cool today.”
Umpire Chris Gaffaney: “That’s enough,”
Tim Paine: “We are allowed to talk”.
Gaffaney: “Play the game. “You guys are the captains. Tim, you’re the captain.”
But Paine couldn’t resist one last remark at Kohli and said, “Keep your cool, Virat.” Kohli refused to be dragged down and just responded with a wry smile.
Paine kept prodding at Kohli, making remarks at him once again when India was batting in their second innings. During India’s second innings on Day 4, keeper Paine, speaking to Murali Vijay, said: “I know he’s your captain but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke.”
Meanwhile, Kohli, speaking about the incident in the presentation said it was no big issue and there were no lines crossed from either side with the banter being kept clean.
“As long as there is no swearing on the field, and there’s no personal attack, the line doesn’t get crossed. That’s it!
“But look, in the competitive spirit, it stays on the field. I am not going to go into details but to be honest it’s not of importance for me to speak on and it’s something that’s done,” he said after India were dismissed for 140 in the second innings.
The BCCI has also intervened in the Virat Kohli and Tim Paine clash with reports coming in of Kohli claiming he was the best batsman in the world during the encounter. In a media statement issued by them, India’s governing cricketing body clarified that the Indian captain had made no such remarks.
A statement from the BCCI read: “There are reports doing the rounds in the media and across social media platforms claiming India captain Virat Kohli got involved in banter with Australia captain Tim Paine during the second Test at Perth”.
“It is ‘assumed’ that Kohli said, ‘I am the best player in the world and you are just a stand-in captain’.
“These claims were based on hearsay and the BCCI would like to bring into notice that no such words were spoken on the field by the Indian captain. The BCCI got a clarification from the team management about the incident and would like to classify the reports as baseless.”
While such battles on the field are part of the game and only help fuel to the competitiveness on the field, the reactions by some Australian ex-cricketers and experts has been bemusing, to say the least. A side which is known to be one of the nastiest and biggest cheats in the game doesn’t look nice preaching others about toning down things on the pitch. After all, the cricketing world is well aware of their murky and shady ongoings on the pitch, as recent as the ball tampering incident in 2018.
What is also surprising is the way Kohli’s counterpart, Paine kept egging the Indian captain. He refused to back down and kept having a go at Kohli even when the Indian captain failed to engage in the petty battle after a point. His pledge to tone down any words on the field following his appointment as captain in a bid to clean up the Australian team’s image and win back the public’s support after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa this year came only a couple of weeks back, something that he seems to have forgotten quite quickly apparently.
Kohli, who had scored a 123 in the first innings, was given out controversially off a catch that clearly looked to have it the ground first. His reaction at the incident was good to see with the Indian skipper refusing to express any displeasure at the soft signal.
“I don’t think I showed any displeasure at the dismissal at all. An appeal was made on call and that’s it. It was done, Australia played better cricket than us and they deserved to win,” he said.