November 29, 2020

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Cricket: Tim Paine reacts to Virat Kohli missing Australia v India Tests

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India captain Virat Kohli and Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Pictures: Getty)

Tim Paine says Australia’s cricketers ‘love to hate’ Virat Kohli and admits his team have ‘polarising’ opinions about the India captain.

India arrived in Australia on Thursday ahead of their red and white-ball series against the Baggy Greens.

Kohli clashed with Paine during India’s last tour Down Under in 2019 but the Australia captain has attempted to play down the rivalry by insisting it was nothing personal.

India superstar Kohli will leave Australia after the first of four Test matches and return home to be at the birth of his first child.

‘I get asked a lot of questions about Virat Kohli, but he’s just another player and it doesn’t really bother me,’ Australia Test captain Paine told ABC News.

‘There’s not really a relationship there with him to be fair, I see him at the toss and play against him and that’s about it.

‘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.

‘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 who 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.’

Kohli’s India clinched a historic Test series win over Australia in 2019 and Paine is relishing the chance to win back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

‘I’m looking forward to it, it’s a huge series. They beat us here last time obviously with a different team,’ he added.

‘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.’

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