DHARAMSALA – Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he no longer considered Australian cricketers as friends after winning a tense Test series marked by bad blood in Dharamsala on Tuesday.Kohli, who remarked before the series that he was “really good friends” with some Australian players, said things had changed during the bitter contest between the world’s top two sides.
“I thought that was the case but it has changed for sure. As I said in the heat of the battle, you want to be competitive but yeah I have been proven wrong,” he said in a post-match press conference.
“The thing I said before the first Test (about being friends), I have certainly been proven wrong, and you won’t hear me say that ever again.”
The 28-year-old skipper caused a furore in the second Test after accusing his counterpart Steven Smith of repeatedly abusing the decision review system.
Critics questioned Kohli’s conduct under pressure, and also his form in the series, with the right-hander scoring just 46 runs from five innings.
Tensions were exacerbated after the Indian captain was dubbed “the Donald Trump of sport” in an Australian newspaper, and former Test bowler Geoff Lawson accused him of acting like “your worst behaved player”.
A combative Kohli hit back at his critics, inviting his detractors to say or write what they feel about him.
“A very wise person told me that when a person is down, the weak come out to speak about him. It takes courage to talk about someone when they are on top,” he said.
“It is fine, I was targeted individually, and I haven’t done well in this series so opportunities galore for everyone to come out and speak about me which is fine.
“…(it is) very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind a mic, I think that’s easier than coming out and competing in the field.”
– Smith apologises –
The rancour between the sides was inflamed in the drawn third Test in Ranchi when Glenn Maxwell was pictured mocking Kohli’s shoulder injury.
The animosity then spilled over into the series-decider with Ravindra Jadeja and Aussie wicketkeeper Matthew Wade engaging in a verbal fight Monday that was caught by stump microphones.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted the footage, complete with stump microphone recordings, on its website and social media channels.
India’s Murali Vijay then found himself at the centre of a fresh controversy after claiming a catch that replays showed had spilled onto the grass.
TV footage caught Smith fuming angrily in the dressing room and appearing to call Vijay a “f****** cheat”.
The Aussie skipper apologised for his outburst but expressed disappointment that the on-field spat between Wade and Jadeja was made public by the BCCI.
“I have been pretty intense throughout this series. I really wanted to do well for the team. At times I have been in my own bubble and have let my emotions slip. I apologise for that,” said Smith.
“I was a little bit disappointed that the BCCI sieved through the archive to find a conversation out on the field that was happening between Matty (Wade) and Jadeja.
“It’s happened between both sides throughout this series, so the fact they’ve done that to us is a little bit disappointing.
“Usually what’s said on the field should stay on the field.” – AFP