Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra took a dig at the Australian cricket team and the Aussie media for making a villain out of Virat Kohli.
Kohli was involved in a heated war of words with Australian captain Tim Paine during the Perth Test – the exchange culminated with Paine asking Murali Vijay how he could like his captain as a bloke.
There was widespread criticism of Kohli’s behaviour. Former Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson said Kohli was disrespectful and added his antics in Perth made him look silly.
But Chopra, who had toured Australia in 2003-04 and recalled a moment he was sledged even when he was not playing a Test, said the Australians needed to look inward and figure out how they behaved in the past.
“The Australian media is rallying behind their cricket team and, in fact, making India and Virat Kohli as the villains of world cricket. I am very, very surprised. It’s the classic case of pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps, it’s time for them to look inwards and just ask themselves the question, regards to how they have behaved in the past,” Chopra told India Today.
Chopra said he found nothing offensive in Kohli’s behaviour and insisted India did not cross any line.
“Personally, I have been watching Virat Kohli and the team’s behaviour very closely. I have found nothing that is offensive, nothing that is crossing the line.
“Yes, he is getting under the skin of the Australian team but that’s how we expected it to be. I think they [Australian media] are overreacting and making a mountain of a molehill. During my time, I was sledged even when I wasn’t playing,” Chopra said. An Australian cricketer, who is a friend now, sledged me once when I walked in as a substitute fielder. Well, Australians… They shouldn’t be saying anything about it.”
Earlier, speaking on India Today, Sunil Gavaskar had said India had started the sledging war and they had to be now prepared to cop some of it from the Australians.
“We have not been saints either. Way back in 2014, when Australia were down with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, we started it. They were too shocked in the first Test and we started it. In a situation like this, we will always lose. Australia are used to playing like that, we are not. It’s not in our DNA to play cricket like that. You also have to take into account if everyone in the team can take it. Even over here, we have started it,” Gavaskar said.