Former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson said it was disrespectful and silly of Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli to not make eye contact with Australian Tim Paine during the post-match handshake. The two captains kept going at each other throughout the second Test and Johnson believes it was Paine who handled himself better than Kohli. “At the end of the match you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say ‘great contest’. Virat Kohli could not do that with Tim Paine, shaking the Australian captain’s hand but barely making eye contact with him. To me, that is disrespectful,” Johnson wrote in his column for Fox Cricket.
“Kohli gets away with more than most cricketers simply because he is Virat Kohli and he gets placed on a pedestal but this Test left the Indian captain looking silly.

“Overall the banter out on the field was fine and I really enjoyed seeing the Indian four-pronged attack going hard at the Australians both verbally and with the ball. It got the crowd going and it is great for the game.”

The 37-year-old had nothing but praise for Kohli as a batsman, but did raise questions over his behaviour as captain.

“He is the No.1 batsman in the world at the moment and what he does for his team is great but I’m not sure this is how your captain should behave,” he added.

“At the end of the day Tim Paine has handled himself superbly. He was not going to bow down to the Indian captain and he stood up for his team. That’s what the captain should do and he did it in the right manner.

“This was a huge win for Australia and it came as a huge relief for the team. The way they showed their character throughout this Test match was absolutely spot on and having the stump mics turned up has allowed the public to see that.”

Kohli spoke about how he has changed and matured as a player ahead of the Test series but Johnson feels the 30-year-old is still the same.

“Kohli has contradicted the things he said at the start of the series. He said he was a changed person – that he was coming in with a different attitude to last time and wasn’t going to initiate anything. What we saw this Test says otherwise,” he wrote.

“From my experiences with him and what I am seeing as an observer now, not much has changed. It was disappointing and that is not the only area where he let himself down.

“In the first innings he scored a brilliant hundred and walked off to a standing ovation but he failed to acknowledge the crowd because he felt hard done by after Peter Handscomb’s catch. To me the catch was given out so you accept it and move on and as a player who has scored a hundred you acknowledge the standing ovation.

“I was not impressed that he opted not to do the press conference that night. He was going to get asked about the Handscomb catch so he sent out young quick Jasprit Bumrah instead to take the heat.”

The former left-arm pacer had quite a rivalry with Kohli when India toured Australia in 2014-15 and said he is now open to having a chat over a cup of coffee.

“It should be said that Kohli and I have our differences and it all stems back to 2014 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when he drove a ball back to me and I threw it back. I was aiming for the stumps because he had left his crease, but unfortunately the throw hit him instead.

“I apologised immediately because that obviously was not my intention but it sparked a heated debate. After play he came out and said he had “no reason to respect” me. He lost me then.

“If he ever wanted to sit down for a coffee to chat about our differences, I would be open to it but I’m sure he has better things to do,” he concluded.

First Published: December 18, 2018, 7:57 PM IST