Host Australia and India are set to lock horns in a four-match Test series, with the opening Day/Night game in Adelaide starting December 17. “He is just another player to me. It doesn’t really bother me. To be fair, there is not really a relationship with him. I see him at the toss and play against him. That is about it,” Paine told ABC Sport.
“With Virat, it is a funny one. We love to hate him, but also love to watch him bat. In that type of scenario, he certainly is polarising. We love watching him bat, but we don’t like seeing him score too many runs.” The last time the two sides met, the tempers flared, with both skippers having a go at each other at every given opportunity.
The duo even had to be separated by the on-field umpires on a couple of occasions. “The competition between Australia and India is a heated one. Kohli is obviously a competitive person, so am I. We had a few words on some occasions, but that wasn’t because we were the captains of the sides. It could have been anyone,” said Paine.
The experienced wicketkeeper-batsman said that heated affairs happen when the best players are out in the middle. “There is always a bit of tension when a player is as good as he is. It is the same when you play against England, against the likes of Joe Root or Ben Stokes. The intensity goes up when the best players come to the crease.”
Last year, India stunned Australia 2-1 to win its maiden Test series Down Under and Paine opined that the rivalry between the two teams intensifies with every passing series. “It is a huge series and I am looking forward to everything. India beat us last time with a different team. As I said, the rivalry is building all the time,” said Paine.
“When there is an opportunity to test yourself against the best, you look forward to it as players and as a team. Australia is looking forward to the series,” he signed off.