Virat Kohli remained combative, declaring he was no longer friends with Australian cricketers, but Steve Smith struck a conciliatory note by apologising for letting his emotions slip as hostilities lingered at the end of an intense Test series.
India won 2-1 in perhaps the most fierce battle of an incredible home season of 13 Tests, of which Kohli’s men lost only one match — to Australia. “Regardless of whether we are on top or not, we speak, if something pokes us we speak and give it right back. All people don’t digest it well but we take it very well and we give it back even better,” Kohli said at the end of the four-match series.
That comment summed up the Indian spirit during the series. The crowd favourites were not averse to a good scrap but neither were the ever-aggressive Australians. The confrontations began with Steve Smith’s ‘DRS Brain Fade’ and the Indian captain’s strong response to it.
Kohli had stopped just short of calling Smith a cheat and the Australian was quick to retort that his Indian counterpart’s allegations were rubbish.
Thereafter, it was a series of verbal altercations between players of both the sides with the Australian media becoming an extension of its team and targetting Kohli viciously. But Smith sought to douse the fire today by apologising for his emotional slips despite the fact that he had not even been questioned about it.
“At times I have been in my own bubble and have let my emotions slip. I apologise for that,” Smith said at the end of the series, which India won 2-1 to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
“It was a magnificent series. One of the best I have been a part of. Credit to India, they are a fantastic cricket side, particularly in their backyard. If you give them a sniff, they will take that,” the Australian skipper said.
Smith though did not hide his disappointment with the BCCI for uploading the video of a showdown between Matthew Wade and Ravindra Jadeja during the fourth Test here. In contrast, Kohli had no qualms saying answering in the negative when asked if he still considered Aussies his friends off the field as he had said at the start of the series.
“No, it has changed for sure. 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.
“The thing I said before the first Test, I have certainly been proven wrong and you won’t hear me say that ever again,” Kohli said.
The reaction was hardly a surprise given that apart from the verbal altercations, his shoulder injury was mocked by the Australians and the media Down Under went as far as to compare him with controversial US President Donald Trump.
Worst, the Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, in a sarcastic remark to a radio station, said Kohli perhaps did not know the spelling of sorry. Brushing the criticism aside, Kohli said he hardly cared for what was spoken or written about him Down Under.
“Some people want to create some spice sitting at some part of the world. They don’t confront such situations themselves. The easiest thing to do is to just sit at home and write a blog or speak on Mic but to go out there and bowl and bat is different,” he said.