IPL 2016: Mitchell Johnson speaks about his rivalry with 'real fighter' Virat Kohli

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Chandigarh, April 6: Former Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson on Wednesday (April 6) admitted that it was not a "smart move" to target India's star batsman Virat Kohli, on Twitter, during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.

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Ahead of India's must-win clash against Australia in Mohali on March 27, Johnson took to Twitter to take a dig at Kohli. He had said the Indian had gone "missing" during the ICC World Cup 2015 semi-final against them. (Johnson calls Kohli 'too good')

Virat Kohli (left) celebrates after guiding India to victory over Australia in World T20 recently. Also seen is James Faulkner

This time, Kohli did not go "missing" and smashed a match-winning 82 not out, which piloted India into the semi-finals of World T20. (Johnson-Kohli sledging battle)

As he gets ready to play for Kings XI Punjab in the 9th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Johnson recalled his tweet and also spoke about his rivalry with the Indian Test captain.

"One man who definitely thrives on the extra scrutiny and pressure is Virat Kohli. The man is a superstar and he showed why during the World Twenty20, when he almost single-handedly dragged India into the final," Johnson wrote in a column for "Fox Sports" today.

"You might have seen that I had a little dig at Virat on Twitter before India's match against Australia. That was just an attempt by me to throw him off his game but given he scored 82 off 51 balls, I don't think it was such a smart move!

"Maybe I shouldn't have said anything but that's the beauty of Twitter - anyone's opinion can be broadcast to the world. I didn't expect my comment to get the level of response that it did, and I probably didn't need to reply to all the angry responses from Indian fans," he added.

The left-armer said it was in 2014 the rivalry with Kohli started, during the Adelaide Test.

"You didn't need to see my tweet to know Virat and I have a bit of a rivalry.

"We've had our differences and most of it stems from the 2014 Adelaide Test, when a ball I threw hit Virat on the body. I was legitimately trying to run him out but he didn't like what I did. When he made some comment in the media that night about having no respect for me as a player, that's when I got really annoyed," he wrote.

Johnson said Kohli was like an Australian cricketer and he was looking forward to his battle against him in IPL 9 where the Delhi batsman captains Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Johnson bowls to Kohli during a Test in Melbourne in December 2014

"Having said that, Virat is the kind of player you'd want in your team. He's a real fighter and to be honest he's a bit like most of us were in the Australian team. We go pretty hard on the field, and he's got that about him as well.

"The fact he plays the game like us is probably why we've rubbed each other the wrong way. If I sit back and digest it properly, we're actually quite similar in the way we approach the game.

"He's a fiery character and he pushes the boundaries, just like I've always tried to do. Maybe that's why we've clashed so often.

"I can't wait to come up against him and his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates later in the IPL," Johnson said.

IPL 2016 will be played from April 9 to May 29.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 11:37 [IST]
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