Australia's Matthew Hayden says unlike Ian Healy, he respects Virat Kohli.

In the festive season of cricket, everything is being talked about except cricket. Controversies have had their fair share of spotlight recently and the Indian captain Virat Kohli had much to do with it. Be it the DRS-Dressing Room saga or words from former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy – he doesn’t respect Virat Kohli – the Delhi lad was in headlines for all odd reasons.

Now, another Aussie has jumped into the matter but with a different thought process, maybe something Healy won’t appreciate. Matthew Hayden, former Australian opener, has said unlike his fellow countryman, he respects Virat and feels his aggression is his biggest arsenal and he should go by this.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror lately, the hard-hitting opener said he shared the same passion and determination like Virat possesses but knew where the boundary line was. Hayden said he appreciates his (Virat’s) attitude and how hard he approaches his game. During the BCCI awards function, Virat said, ‘He gives his 120% every-day’ and well it seems to work in his favour.

“No. Virat, like I did, always walks the fine line. We are passionate about the game and we believe that the body language, attitude, temperament, discipline and domination are part of our arsenal. Sometimes, they get spill over. The key here is respect. They only thing I play the game for is to earn respect from fellow players. I am sure that is exactly with Virat as well. He wants to play the game in his spirit. And he also wants to play the game hard.”

Talking more about Indian cricket, Hayden said the players are blessed to have been nurtured under such elite conditions; they are payed well and have got billions backing them day in day out. As a part of the Australian team, Hayden travelled India three times for the Test series and later for as many years was a part of the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. Now, he is a commentator in the ongoing series between India vs Australia.

Hayden further said he has started to feel himself as an Indian too and for that, he attended the awards night and had a great time.

“I can say that the Indian cricketers are a privileged society. They earn a lot of money and get a lot of love from the country. These players are blessed. They get a lot adulation and even I started getting it here. I have actually become India-Australian and may be in that order. I attended the BCCI awards function the other night because of the respect for the game where they gave a lifetime achievement to a couple of cricketers. So did Virat challenge all this? No. He is earning respect.”