virat kohli
Virat Kohli (AFP Photo)

Virat Kohli‘s aggressive on-field attitude might have divided opinions but Australia batting legend Matthew Hayden feels the India captain is competitive and passionate and that his antics don’t cross the line.

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Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar have criticised Kohli for being over-aggressive in the second Test which India went on to lose. The verbal duel between Kohli and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine grabbed a lot of attention in Perth but former Australia internationals have generally been supportive of the Indian batsman.

“Virat Kohli, I think, is more Australian than Indian in many ways,” Hayden told Mumbai Mirror. “He has been playing this way. He plays the game in a very competitive spirit. He is very animated, very passionate, and he is very emotional. I think a lot of Australians at all levels of sport play the game like that. They are also very competitive, they enjoy the heat of the battle. As long as there is a line and I don’t think Virat has crossed that. No match referee or conjectures off the field. So everything has remained on the field.”

Hayden’s comments come after Michael Hussey had also defended Kohli saying “This is a tough series and you expect the odd thing to be said. It did not get out of hand. I thought both players handled it well. It was nipped in the bud before it could escalate. It showed both teams will play tough cricket and they are not going to back down.”

The four-match series is currently locked at 1-1 with the third Test to be played from December 26 at the MCG.