Tim Paine
Australia skipper Tim Paine during nets. Image Credit: Reuters

Sydney: Australian Test skipper Tim Paine on Thursday rejected former captain Michael Clarke's statement and said the team had put their best performance against Virat Kohli and the only thing is that the hosts do not want to provoke the Indian skipper as it produces the best out of him.

"I certainly didn't notice too many people being that nice to Virat or not trying to get him out or anything like that. I thought everyone who had the ball in their hand or when we were batting were trying their absolute best to win the game for Australia," ESPNcricinfo quoted Paine as saying.

"I'm not sure who was going easy on him; we certainly had a thing where we didn't want to provoke any fight with him because we think that's when he plays at his best," he added.

On Tuesday, Clarke had dropped a bombshell, revealing that the players in the Australian side "sucked up" to India captain Virat Kohli in order to protect their deals.

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He also went on to say that the players in the Australian lineup refrained from sledging Kohli as they were looking to cement lucrative deals in India.

"Everybody knows how powerful India is in regards to the financial part of the game, internationally or domestically with the IPL," Fox Sports had quoted Clarke as saying on the Big Sports Breakfast radio programme.

"I feel that Australian cricket, and probably every other team over a little period, went the opposite and actually sucked up to India. They were too scared to sledge Kohli or the other Indian players because they had to play with them in April," he had added.

Paine said whenever the team steps on the field to play a Test match they give 'their absolute all' and don't think about any IPL contract.

"Who knows what will happen this series and, as we saw in the documentary, there was still quite a lot of heat in some of those games. I certainly wasn't holding back, but again the IPL's not a huge draw for me at the moment, so I had nothing to lose. But anytime our guys go out and play a Test match for Australia, they'll be giving their absolute all and I'm pretty sure they're not thinking about an IPL contract when they're running in, bowling to Virat," Paine said.

Kohli has been in involved in fiery battles against the Australian lineup. During 2018 India's tour to Australia, Kohli and Paine were seen exchanging words on the pitch during the second Test at Perth. India claimed the four-match series by 2-1.

Both the teams are slated to play a four-match Test series later this year.