InDaily InDaily

Support independent Journalism Donate Subscribe
Support independent journalism


'Kohli's entitled to his opinion... but he's wrong'


Skippers Steve Smith and Virat Kohli will attempt to reconcile their differences before today’s toss in Ranchi, where the bitter divide between Australia and India widened on the eve of what promises to be a spiteful third Test.

Comments Print article

Tensions have bubbled since Kohli accused the visitors of systematically cheating in the second Test by looking to support staff for illegal advice regarding reviews. Smith insisted his “brain fade” on day four was the only instance.

Smith, Kohli and match referee Richie Richardson will meet prior to play this afternoon, Australian time, when both sides start their push for a 2-1 lead in the four-Test series.

“I might be able to ask (Kohli) a few questions. We’ll see what the mood’s like at the time. Virat obviously stuck by his comments,” Smith said.

I don’t think Kohli was out there long enough for two appeals

“In regards to saying that we do it consistently, that’s complete rubbish.

“He said that we did it twice while he was out there (batting). I don’t think he was out there long enough for two appeals.

“He’s entitled to his opinion, but from my point of view he’s completely wrong.”

Kohli dug in his heels, saying he had no regrets about the post-match tirade and that emotion had nothing to do with it.

“I think about what I said. I don’t regret anything that I’ve said, but at the same time it’s very important not to be stupid and go on with the same thing on a daily basis,” Kohli said.

“It was a mature decision on everyone’s part to move on.

“We’ve seen instances from the past stretch on too long. It just causes disharmony and there’s no outcome.”

Australia and India’s cricket boards made peace last week and indicated in a joint statement the captains would smoke the peace pipe in Ranchi.

Smith had a chat with Richardson and umpires prior to yesterday’s training session.

“Basically what they said was that they want to see cricket as the winner in the Test … both teams to play within the rules of the game,” he said.

“They understand games between Australia and India are always fiercely contested. It’s just about playing within the boundaries of the game.”

Kohli was keen to move on from the saga but engaged in an immature tit-for-tat with a visiting journalist.

When pressed if it was appropriate for a Test captain to make unsubstantiated allegations in a press conference, Kohli took exception to the line of questioning.

“What were the allegations? What is the allegation called?” Kohli quipped.

“It has to be called something, for me to be questioning something about someone – to call it an allegation.

“If no charges were pressed against me, how are those allegations?”

When it was explained for a third time that Kohli indicated there were two instances of Australia using the Decision Review System (DRS) inappropriately when he was batting in Bangalore, he refused to answer the question.

“We need to move on and focus on the game tomorrow,” Kohli said.

“Two sides to the coin, I could be speaking about it again, and (if so) things are not going to move forward.”

For his part, Australian young gun Peter Handscomb has moved on and apologised to Smith for his role in the controversial incident. Handscomb told Smith to look to the visitors’ support staff for advice on whether to review the lbw verdict, with the game in the balance in Bangalore.

Virat Kohli exchanges pleasantries with Australia's last man standing Josh Hazlewood as India celebrate a 75-run victory in the second Test. Photo: Aijaz Rahi / AP

Virat Kohli exchanges pleasantries with Australia’s last man standing Josh Hazlewood as India celebrate a 75-run victory in the second Test. Photo: Aijaz Rahi / AP

Smith insists Handscomb hasn’t been dwelling on the saga.

“He came up and sort of apologised to me, but in all respect it was on me,” Smith said.

“It was my mistake and my brain fade.

“He’s fine. He’s enjoying being here in India … he’s really keen to score some big runs.”

Handscomb excelled in Australia during the past summer, crafting two tons after making his debut as part of an overhaul of the XI.

The 25-year-old has fallen for 22, 19, 16 and 24 in the ongoing series.

“He’s looked pretty good without going on to make a score for us,” Smith said.

“He’s had some good plans in place… I think he’s looked quite comfortable a lot of the time he’s been out in the middle.

“His execution has probably just been a little bit off, so he understands that.”

Smith said he wouldn’t be afraid to adopt a “French cricket” mindset in the third Test, should the Ranchi pitch demand it.

I’ve never seen a wicket that’s looked quite as dark as this one

The 27-year-old is comfortably the side’s best batsman and has a knack of scoring freely. But his first innings in Bangalore was an uncharacteristic struggle, with the right-hander scoring eight off 52 balls.

Smith says India pacemen Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav and a pitch playing plenty of tricks forced him to take a defensive approach.

“It was just so difficult to score, against the quicks in particular,” Smith said.

“I was always afraid of the one shooting low like in the second innings (when Smith was trapped lbw by an unplayable delivery that hardly bounced).

“It was about trying to almost play French cricket. If the ball was on my stumps, try and cover that as well as I could.

“It (not scoring) was a credit to the Indian quicks, I thought they bowled very well. Their line and lengths were spectacular really throughout the whole match.”

The surface in Ranchi is expected to be consistently slow and low, without the variable bounce on offer in the second Test.

“It will shoot quite low… I’ve never seen a wicket that’s looked quite as dark as that one is. It looks like there’s mud sort of rolled together,” Smith said.

“Guys just have to adapt and play according to what the wicket entails.

“It’s about summing up the best way to play and try and get as many runs as we can to build the first innings.”

The dry deck won’t suit Pat Cummins, who is set to play his first Test since 2001, but Smith backed the express paceman to trouble India’s batsmen.

“He’s got some good variations. Watching him bowl yesterday, he bowled these cutters on the wicket and they were actually ragging,” Smith said.

“He’s got some good skills … the extra pace is always nice.”

Smith added every member of the attack would need to step up and fill he void left by injured spearhead Mitchell Starc, who has returned home with a foot injury.

“When you lose someone of the class and calibre of Mitchell Starc, it’s always difficult,” he said.

“But we’re confident the rest of the bowling group can do the job to take 20 wickets.”


Make a comment View comment guidelines

Local News Matters

Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.

Donate today
Powered by PressPatron


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More Cricket stories

Loading next article