Virat Kohli has been his usual chatty self on the tour of Australia, trying to intimidate the opposition every chance he gets. But in rival captain Tim Paine, he has got able opposition who won’t back down from a good bout with his own brand of sly sledging.
But, when verbal duel between the two captains went close to getting physical on the crucial fourth day in Perth, the umpires had to intervene. The two were told to calm down by umpire Chris Gaffaney after Kohli almost came in the way of Paine while completing a run.
However, Ricky Ponting, former Australia captain and a master of the art of sledging himself, felt that the umpires should not have been involved in what was light-hearted banter, according to him.
“I think Tim stood up manfully. He stood up for himself late last night, he stood up for his team and more importantly he got some vital runs and really led the way,” Ponting told cricket.com.
“A lot of the banter we’ve heard since has been quite funny. I know the umpires got involved but they probably didn’t need to. It was a conversation, a bit of banter between the two captains and whatever we heard today has been pretty light-hearted and quite funny at times.”
While Ponting is right when he says a lot of the jibes were funny, the moment the umpires stepped in was perhaps one of the bits where the famous imaginary line was close to being crossed.
His successor Michael Clarke disagreed, saying that umpires were right to get involved.
“What the umpire did is right, he reminded the players that they are the leaders. I think it’s fine — it’s two captains trying hard to go for a win,” he said on air during his television stint with Sony Six.
Earlier, on day four, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar had slammed Kohli for his antics when he stepped in Paine’s path.
This was the not first time the duo have clashed in the ongoing Test. A day before, Kohli had a go at Paine on day three saying, “if he messes it up it’s 2-0, and who’s going to talk then?” For which the Australian captain retorted, “You’ve got to bat first, big head.”
The Australian captain kept at it even when Murali Vjay was batting with a sledge that might just go down as the best of this tour. “I know he is your captain, but you can’t possibly like him as a bloke,” said Paine, which was caught on the stump mic.
But all the chatter aside, it looks like Paine will have the last laugh in Test match as Australia closed in on a series-levelling win.