Australian cricketers ‘love to hate’ Virat Kohli, says Tim Paine

Melbourne: Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has described Virat Kohli as a polarising figure, saying that Australian cricketers love to hate the Indian skipper but they also adore watching him bat.

India and Australia are slated to square off against each other in three ODIs, three T20Is, and four Tests.

Kohli will just be playing one Test against Australia, and then he will head back home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“With Virat, it is a funny one – we love to hate him, but we also love to watch him bat as cricket fans. He certainly is polarising in that type of scenario. We love watching him bat, but we do not like seeing him score too many runs,” Paine told ABC News, as reported by ESPNCricinfo.

During the 2018-19 tour of Australia, Kohli and Paine were involved in quite a few heated exchanges on the field. During the second Test in Perth, Kohli and Paine had a go at each other a number of times, especially when Paine was batting for Australia.

“Australia and India, it’s a heated competition and he’s obviously a competitive person and so am I. So yeah, there were a few occasions when we had words but that wasn’t because he was the captain and I was the captain – it could have been anyone. It’s often the best player is the one that your team goes up a little bit, the intensity goes up when the best players in the world come out to the crease,” said Paine.

During the 2018-19 series, India managed to record their first Test series win on Australian soil. Kohli-led side eventually won the series 2-1 and now they would be looking to retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy.

“I’m looking forward to everything, to be honest, it’s a huge series. They beat us here last time obviously with a different team. I think any time you get to test yourself against the best is something that you look forward to as players and as a team, and we certainly are,” said Paine.

The first Test between India and Australia will commence from December 17 at the Adelaide Oval and this match will be a day-night contest.

The four-match series will be a part of the World Test Championship (WTC). India and Australia are at the top two spots in the WTC standings.