India skipper Virat Kohli had made the news for some wrong reasons during the tour of Australia. While the tour did not witness any big controversy as such, tempers flared during the second Test in Perth with Kohli being at the centre of the storm. The India star’s aggressive on-field antics in the game was met with severe criticism. Despite scoring a stunning ton in the game, Kohli faced the heat for his conduct on the field.
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Kohli targeted his Australia counterpart Tim Paine with his verbal volleys. He had reportedly fired a belittling comment that labelled Paine ‘a stand-in captain’ and himself ‘the best player in the world’. At the end of the game, Kohli had also given Paine a cold shoulder when the latter came out to shake hands.
However, Indian middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara backed his skipper saying that Kohli was never disrespectful towards anyone. Pujara said that Kohli behaved according to his nature and should continue acting like it.
“He can behave the way he wants to as long as he respects the game. He hasn’t been disrespectful to anyone else. Sledging is something which he likes at times. And there is nothing wrong in that,” Pujara told the Times of India.
Pujara also said that he and Kohli never had a clash of personalities, praising the skipper for his man-management skills.
“Not at all,” said Pujara, adding: “Ultimately, he (Kohli) also understands what is required to win. Many times I’ve given him suggestions and he has been more than willing to accept them. He might have a different personality but that’s his nature.”
Pujara went on to say that the Australian media also plays their part in playing mind games against opposition teams alongside the players.
“Even their media is always supporting their team. If you make any error, they always let the opponents know. So, as an Indian player, if there’s something wrong, or even if there is a minor discussion in the team, and if their media-person gets to know, then they’ll always go behind that player. It’s part of their strategy, which we understand. There’s a little bit of sledging which is going on. But luckily, I’m someone who doesn’t get affected. In fact, I get motivated when they try and sledge me,” said Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pujara, meanwhile, was the star for India in the historic tour of Australia. He finished the series as the top-scorer as India beat the hosts 2-1 to register their first-ever Test series win on the Australian soil. Pujara scored 521 runs with the help of 3 centuries.