ICC World T20 - Men
Kohli up for the passion challenge
India's superstar batsman Virat Kohli more than ready to take on Australia in do-or-die clash
Sam Ferris in Chandigarh
26 March 2016, 09:15 PM AEST
Australia be warned: get into an on-field tussle with Virat Kohli and risk motivating the champion batsman even more in their winner-takes-all World T20 clash on Sunday.
Kohli and the Australians share a heated past when it comes to trading verbal barbs out in the middle, but the Indian superstar is planning for both intense sledging and the silent treatment from Steve Smith's men.
"Debate on the field or not, it doesn’t really matter with me," Kohli told reporters on Saturday.
"I’m pretty sure of the plans I take into the middle but if I get into a little bit (of debate) with anyone, and if I have to take a certain stand, that doesn’t necessarily put me off my game.
"If anything, that motivates me more.
"But it doesn’t mean that if I don’t get to get into a debate with someone that I won’t be motivated to win the game for my team.
"That’s something that I’ve come to terms with that not every team is going to have a go at you so it’s better to plan your innings without that situation and if that situation comes in you have to take it as more fuel to the fire to actually take in with you.
"Australia is a side that we all know is a very strong side. They play with a lot of passion and I believe in playing the same way so I like that challenge."
Allrounder Shane Watson, who was at one stage the chief antagonist in the Australian squad, says he and his teammates have tried everything to ruffle Kohli's feathers without success.
"We’ve tried a few different things," Watson said. "It hasn't really worked.
"The silent treatment, we thought might work but he still just goes about his business and is able to churn out the runs.
"And we've also gone fairly hard at him as well, at times.
"I've only ever seen it effect for him about two balls, once (at the MCG in 2014), and I dropped him at slip.
"He knows his game incredibly well and whichever way we go we're just going to have to be at our best to try and get him out early.
"Because once he gets in he certainly knows how to put pressure on bowlers."
Kohli is enjoying a dream run against Australia of late, dominating the men in green and gold in his last series in each format.
In the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series, the 27-year-old racked up 692 at 86.5 in four Tests with four centuries; in the five-match Carlton Mid ODI Series in January he amassed 381 runs at 76.2; and in the following three-T20 international series, he piled up 199 runs and was dismissed only once.
The T20 series ended in a 3-0 whitewash to the visitors, and Kohli says the victory sparked India to an Asia Cup final win and now the chance to progress to the World T20 semi-finals with a win on Sunday.
"If you look at how we've played this season that's the sort of the catalyst of our consistent performances in this Twernty20 season so far," Kohli said.
"We can focus on the positive things we did there against Australia, but we cannot take anything for granted.
"It's a virtual quarter-final for us, we all know that, and it's very important tin the moment, stay focused on what we have to do.
"Why we were able to beat them in Australia is very important to remember.
"It's not so much that we have beaten them so we can go out there and do it again.
"It's why we did is what we need to focus on. If we play to our potential we have the ability to repeat that again."