‘Disrespectful’ Virat Kohli gets away with more than most cricketers: Mitchell Johnson
Tim Paine and Virat Kohli exchange pleasantries after the Perth Test. © Getty

Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has criticised India skipper Virat Kohli for his behaviour during the Perth Test and in its immediate aftermath, venturing to term him hypocritical and able to “get away with more” than his international peers because of his stature as the No 1 ranked batsman in Tests and ODIs.

“At the end of the match you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say ‘great contest’”, wrote Johnson in his column for Fox Sports. “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. 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.”

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While he had no issue with the “banter” on the field, Johnson felt Kohli’s behaviour during the Perth Test contradicted his pre-series comments.

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,” he wrote. “However, 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.”

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Johnson, Australia’s fifth most successful bowler in Test cricket, felt that Kohli “let himself down” with his behaviour as captain.

“From my experiences with him and what I am seeing as an observer now, not much has changed,” he wrote. “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.

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“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. I am not claiming to be a saint and I gave my fair share of verbals. However, I never said I would not initiate verbals heading into a series. I was also never captain.”

When India toured Australia in 2014-15, Johnson greeted Kohli with a bouncer that hit the batsman’s helmet. Johnson raised an arm to Kohli in apology, and matters appeared calm. During the third Boxing Day Test that followed, the pair were involved in an incident from which Johnson said he lost respect for Kohli.

“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,” wrote Johnson. “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.”

“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. “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.”