Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis disagree over Australian aggression

India captain hopes for quiet tour down under this winter, while his South African counterpart likes baggygreen's 'in-your-face' approach on field

India captain Virat Kohli, left, and South Africa counterpart Faf du Plessis, right, have divergent views on Australia's on-field behaviour. AFP
India captain Virat Kohli, left, and South Africa counterpart Faf du Plessis, right, have divergent views on Australia's on-field behaviour. AFP

India captain Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis, his South African counterpart, have differing views on how the new-look Australian cricket team should play the game.

While Kohli would prefer the 'baggygreens' to behave on the field, Du Plessis would like them to continue being chirpy.

Australia coach Justin Langer and Test captain Tim Paine have both pledged to change the win-at-all-costs culture that was rampant when Australian players tried to cheat during a ball-tampering scandal, which broke out during a match against South Africa in Cape Town this year.

Their attempt to alter the ball with sandpaper rocked the game, led to bans for then captain Steve Smith, then vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft. It also saw a clean-out of executives at Cricket Australia.

Kohli, known for his combative tactics, however said India would depend on ability over aggression on their tour down under, where they play three Twenty20 internationals, four Tests and then three one-day internationals over a period of three months.

"When it comes to getting engaged in an argument on the field, or in a fight as people want to call it excitedly, I have been completely OK playing without an altercation," the middle-order batsman said ahead of the team's departure on Friday.

Kohli and the Australians

"I have enough belief in my ability to play without a reason to pump myself up. Those were very immature things that I needed to feed on in early days of my career," Kohli conceded.

That being said, no tour of Australia is a gentle experience and Kohli is prepared for some tense moments with the opposition.

"If they want to play a certain way we will reciprocate in that way, that's how the game of cricket goes," he said while insisting on the importance of "remaining competitive".

Du Plessis, though, urged the Australian players not to totally sacrifice their confrontational approach.

The middle-order batsman, who has just led the Proteas in three ODIs against Australia, said on Friday there had been a marked change in their on-field behaviour and the baiting of opposition players had receded.

"The series in South Africa [earlier this year] was like that, especially that first Test in Durban. It was a feisty one," he said in Brisbane ahead of a one-off Twenty20 on Saturday.

"Then comparing that to now, you can see they're obviously trying to minimise that a bit more, and let the cricket do the talking.

"I think that's the way the game's moving anyway. These days, chirping's not as big a part of cricket. Obviously the stump mics, TVs, there's a lot of emphasis from the ICC that it needs to be a gentleman's game.

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"There's a lot of kids watching the game... so chirping, swearing, all that stuff has been really toned down, so I think it's a general thing that's happened in the game.

"But if you compare the two series then yes, there's been a big difference in the way that they talk on the field."

One of Australia's strengths in the past had been their aggressive and "in-your-face" approach, unsettling batsmen and bowlers with their back-chat.

Since moving away from that and adopting a "be nice" policy, their results have nosedived.

Du Plessis, who once referred to the Australians as being "like a pack of wild dogs", said he revelled in the confrontation and urged them not to totally abandon traits that had brought them so much success.

"I've always believed that you must never take away your uniqueness as a strength. If your strength is to be in guys' faces, then you must use that," he said.

"Obviously there's laws now where you can't cross that line, but if you're a personality that requires that to get the best out of yourself and therefore perform the best for the team, then by all means do that within the boundaries that are allowed."


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Updated: November 16, 2018 11:20 AM


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