Ace India batter Virat Kohli has said that though the rivalry between India and Australia was intense initially, the whole thing has turned into respect especially after India won back-to-back Test series in Australia.
The first-ever Test series win by India in Australia came in 2018-19 under the captaincy of Virat Kohli and then in 2020-21 under Ajinkya Rahane, as Kohli only captained in one Test and returned after the infamous 36 all out in Adelaide.
Days before the highly anticipated World Test Championship final, Virat Kohli claimed in an interview with the official broadcasters that he can see the respect the Australians have for India when the two teams compete in high-profile series.
When the two teams fought each other in the past, Kohli acknowledged that there was a lot of tension in the air, but that isn't the case today.
"The rivalry between India and Australia, in the early days, used to be a lot intense. There used to be a tense environment. But after we won 2 series in Australia, the rivalry has turned into respect. We can't be taken lightly as a Test team. We can see the respect the oppositions have for us. They expect us to give a close fight even in their conditions. We can't be taken lightly anymore," Virat Kohli told Star Sports from London.
"There used to be tension in the air in the past. But that's not there now. You have your presence now, there's standing on level terms now," he added.
Kohli, who has scored 1979 runs with 8 hundreds in 24 Tests against Australia, said, "Australian team is a very competitive side that if you give them even a small window, they will come very hard at you and capitalise. Their skill set is really high. That is the reason my motivation increases even more and I had to take my game to the next level against them. I have to rise and elevate my game against Australia to beat them."
Virat Kohli was one of the earliest members of the team to arrive in the UK to begin preparation for the summit clash against Australia, as India had a training camp at Arundel Castle ground in Sussex.
Virat Kohli is confident that the team is better prepared to take on Australia in English conditions.
Given that the two sides are competing in a neutral setting with conditions that are fairly foreign to both of them, the former skipper predicted that India vs. Australia final in England will be a thrilling match.
"You can't expect a certain type of condition when you go out and bat at the Oval. There is a need to adapt and adjust quickly. It's only a one-off match for both teams. The team that adapts better will prevail. his is the beauty of WTC, there are two teams at a neutral venue. And the beauty of it is to see how the two teams adapt,” Kohli said.
(Star Sports inputs)