Kohli’s aggression made me feel like a punching bag: Justin Langer
Australia coach Justin Langer and Test captain Tim Paine had decided not to engage with Virat Kohli during the four-match series in 2018-19, fearing that might charge him up more.
However, Paine himself could not resist himself from breaking his stance during the second Test at Optus Stadium in Perth.
They revealed this during a recently released docu-series The Test on Amazon Prime Video.
Australia, at that time, were determined to overcome their tarnished image on the back of their involving in the ball-tampering scandal. And hence, they had decided to not engage with Kohli verbally during the series. However, Kohli’s on-field antics angered Langer but he could not be expressive about it.
“I remember that afternoon (feeling) like a punching bag. We can’t fight back because it felt like we had our hands behind our backs and we just had to take it,” said Langer.
“You must be feeling the double standards the way their captain is carrying on and we sort of have to be careful. Imagine if we behaved two out of ten (of) that,” he said.
The Australia opener asked his players to take on Kohli, though he also warned the hosts not to cross the line between banter and abuse.
“There is a difference between abuse and banter. There is no room for abuse. We don’t need to abuse him but there is banter where you stick up for your mate.”
But despite all these precautions, things went out of control on the fourth day of the second Test in Perth, as Kohli and the Australian captain Paine got involved in a verbal spat.
“I sort of just had enough and thought you also have to stand up for yourself and your teammates and that was one of the reasons I thought, ‘no, I’m the captain, it’s my turn, I have to stand up and show him we’re here for the fight,” said Paine.
While Kohli was caught saying by the stump microphones, “If he messes it up, it’s 2-0. Who’s gonna talk then,” Paine also did not hold himself back and replied “You’ve got to bat first, big head.”
Eventually, Kohli and Co. were the victorious side throughout an unprecedented tour Down Under. While they had won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1, they had also won the ODIs by same margin while the T20I series had been drawn 1-1.