Melbourne: Never the one to shy away from an on-field showdown, feisty Indian batsman Virat Kohli said being called a “spoilt brat” by the Australians brought the best out of him as he smashed a career-best 169-run knock to keep the touring side afloat in the ongoing third cricket Test here today.
“It was going on throughout the day. They were calling me a spoilt brat and I said ‘maybe that's the way I am. You guys hate me and I like that'. I don't mind having a chat on the field and it worked in my favour I guess,” a combative Kohli said at the end of third day's play which India finished at 462/8, still trailing by 68 runs.
“I like playing against Australia because it is very hard for them to stay calm and I don't mind an argument on the field and it really excites me and brings the best out of me. So they don't seem to be learning the lesson,” said Kohli.
The most dramatic moments of the day involved Kohli in a verbal spat with Mitchell Johnson after the pacer ended up hitting the Indian while attempting to run him out.
Talking about Johnson, Kohli said, “In Brisbane he was batting without pressure because that's not his job. His job is to take wickets and he was going at 4.7 an over today, and he didn't get a wicket throughout the day and I backed myself to take him on even if I keep talking to him.
“I decided whenever he comes on to bowl I will back myself and take him on. I don't mind having a word back, neither does he, so we kept going at it.”
Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put on 262 runs for the fourth wicket in reply to Australia's first innings total of 530 runs. There have been a lot of heated moments in this series and Sunday's incidents were just another chapter to that saga.
“They have the right to talk I guess. They are 2-0 up right now. It would have been interesting if it had been 1-1 and the same sort of sentences or words had come through from them. When you are on top you can sort of say anything you want.
“It's when chips are down that you have got to stand up. When we played in India (in 2012-13) there weren't so many words coming back from them. We are 2-0 down, we still took them on today, and showed what we can do with the bat, which is the character of this Indian team,” said a defiant Kohli.