Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2019, Bengaluru April 25, 2019

Passion or provocation: did Kohli mock Ashwin?

ESPNcricinfo staff

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We just play with passion - Ashwin on Kohli send-off

Did Virat Kohli mock R Ashwin's controversial mankading of Jos Buttler earlier in the season after he caught his Test team-mate at the long-on boundary? Paul Collingwood, former England captain and a staunch critic of the Buttler run-out, certainly thought so.

With 27 required off the last over against Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab captain Ashwin hit the first ball for a six. The next only made it as far as Kohli at the long-on boundary. Kohli gesticulated after catching the ball before moving his right hand - which held the ball - behind his body, an action not too dissimilar to flicking the bails off behind you when you effect the mankad.

Virat Kohli is over the moon as a Kings XI Punjab wicket falls © BCCI

Ashwin walked off, and proceeded to fling his gloves in anger upon reaching the dugout, which may or may not have been a reaction to Kohli's antics. He was later asked about what had been going on between him and Kohli - Ashwin has been animated whenever his side has got Kohli out - and replied, "I just play with passion, so does he. That's it. As simple as that."

No current India cricketer has openly come out in support of Ashwin - or made any comment one way or another - on the run-out debate, whereas current England cricketers - and others - have taken to Twitter to criticise him. The support for Ashwin has only come from former Indian cricketers.

Ashwin did pull out of his delivery during his match against Delhi Capitals with Shikhar Dhawan, the non-striker, not leaving the crease. When Ashwin ran in to bowl the next ball, Dhawan danced outside the crease but with the bat inside it. Kohli reacted similarly when Sunil Narine pulled out of his delivery stride in another match, but that wasn't with the intention of running the non-striker out. Kohli squatted low to send the message that he was doing all he could to keep his bat inside the crease.

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