Kohli: Cross the line and we’ll bite back
Virat Kohli reckons he is a changed man, but the India skipper has declared he will fight fire with fire if poked by Australia.
Kohli is back in Australia for the first time since 2016 and is determined to be the first captain to lead India to a Test series win Down Under.
Now the biggest star in world cricket, Kohli has a reputation for his tenacious attitude and willingness to engage in conflict on the field.
Kohli has had numerous running battles with Australians over the years and has rarely not backed up his fights with big scores.
He averages 54.22 against Australia across all three forms of the game, including a Twenty20 average of 60.43 ahead of tonight's series-opening clash at the Gabba.
Now 30, Kohli insists he has mellowed as a player, but said he would not take a backward step if Australia wanted to take him on.
"If the opposition are aggressive towards you then you will counter it," Kohli said in a translated interview.
"We are a team that don't start anything. We draw our own self-respect line and if we feel anyone crosses that line that we stand up for it.
"For me aggression is the passion for winning."
In 11 T20 innings against Australia, Kohli has four half-centuries and a top score of 90 not out.
He arrives in Australia in top form after scoring three centuries in a five-match one-day series against the West Indies.
Kohli will play a pivotal role in the three-match T20 series, but it is the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series he is desperate to win.
Kohli said being close enough in Australia was not good enough.
"Australia is always a big tour for any Indian side that comes here," Kohli said.
"We played good cricket last time but weren't able to win games. We definitely want to change that.
"We believe we have the quality to do so. It will boil down to how we think in each moment in every game we play on this tour."
The three-match Australia-India T20 series against moves to Melbourne (Friday) and Sydney (Sunday) after Wednesday night's game.