Kolkata: Just when it seemed that the Aussies were ruthless and had no intention of stopping the digs at Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his men, former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden has stepped in to support Kohli and his team. The India-Australia series has been making headlines more due to the battles off the field rather than on it.
Hayden attacked former Australian wicket-keeper Ian Healy over the latter’s comments on Kohli. “Virat, like I did, always walks the fine line. We are passionate about the game and we believe that the body language, attitude, temperament, discipline and domination are part of our arsenal. Sometimes, they spill over. The key here is respect. The only thing I play the game for is to earn respect from fellow players. I am sure that is exactly the same with Virat as well,” Hayden was quoted. He also added that like the Indian cricketers, he too received a lot of love and affection from the local cricket fans in India. “I can say that the Indian cricketers are a privileged society. They get a lot of adulation and even I started getting it here,” he said.
It all started when Healy took swipes at Kohli. “The pressure is starting to tell on (Kohli). I’m losing respect for him. He’s got to be a lot more respectful of his opponents. The stuff he did with Steve Smith was unacceptable,” he had said to an Australian radio station. This, for obvious reasons didn’t go down well with Kohli who immediately retorted after the second Test. Kohli said “We have 1.2 billion people in India and one person doesn’t make a difference. And also I think you should go and search on YouTube when he was given out in Centurion down the leg side. I heard he said something about me not having good behaviour with the umpires. I think you all should YouTube that video.”
Be it the sparking comments of veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh ahead of the first Test or the ‘brain fade’ row in the second Test, the war of words continues. Meanwhile, Kohli and his men have won support from ex-Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar and now Hayden.
The Aussie media calling the wicket in Ranchi a conspiracy against Australia, the controversial comments of Healy, the jibes by former Aussie pacer Mitchell Johnson at Kohli and Fox Sports Australia comparing Kohli to animals, have all contributed to the tensions between the two teams. While Hayden did try to sublime the situation, Kohli and his Aussie counterpart, Steve Smith will be more aggressive than before, one can bet.
(With inputs from NDTV)