Australia in India 2016-17 March 28, 2017

Kohli says friendship with Australian players has been damaged

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Smith disappointed with BCCI, Kohli says 'friends no more'

A contentious, fractious and ill-tempered Test series has claimed a final victim: Virat Kohli's relationships with Australian players, the Indian captain said, have been irrevocably damaged. Tensions continued to simmer even after the conclusion in Dharamsala, with Steven Smith apologising for his behavior during the series, but also registering his disappointment at another bit of off-field sparring.

Before the four-Test series began, Kohli had spoken warmly about his friendships with all of the Australian players but indicated that would not affect the upcoming series. When asked if he still felt the same way after India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1, Kohli was blunt in his reply.

"No, it has changed," he said. "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 I've been proven wrong. The thing I said before the first Test, that has certainly changed and you won't hear me say that ever again."

Smith, meanwhile, admitted his emotions had got the better of him at times during the series and offered an apology for his behaviour. He first apologised on the televised post-match presentation and then reiterated it in the following press conference.

"I set myself high standards and I wanted to lead from the front with my performances" Smith said. "I have sort of been very intense in my own little bubble and at times I have let my emotions and actions just falter a little bit throughout this series and I apologise for that.

"That's a big stride for me moving forward and something I can really learn from and continue to grow as an individual and as a leader."

Smith, however, expressed disappointment with the BCCI for airing on-field exchanges between R Jadeja and Matthew Wade through a video clip on its website, in which umpire Ian Gould could be heard trying to intervene.

"Yeah, 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 and Jadeja," Smith said. "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. It's been a hard-fought series and guys are going to say things here and there, their emotions are going to be high. And so they should be in such a big series. So I was a little bit disappointed by the fact the BCCI did bring that out.

Kohli also fired back at sections of the media who criticised his behaviour and form throughout an unusually lean series: he made only 46 runs in three Tests.

"As I've said before, it's not in my control," said Kohli. "I've heard a very wise person tell me that when a person is down, the weak come out and speak about him. It takes courage to speak about someone when they are on top. It's fine, I was targeted individually and I hadn't done well in the series. So opportunities galore for everyone to come out and speak about me.

"When I've done well in the past, people have spoken about me. When I haven't done well I obviously expect them to come out and say all sorts of things. It's obviously very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind the mic. I think that's easier than coming out and competing on the field.

"That's all I have to say about that."

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rockyj5352171 on March 31, 2017, 16:08 GMT

    CRICFAN66521146: have you not learnt from your ridiculously ill-predicted 4-0 whitewash of the recently finished Aus v India test series? You barely got away 2-1, yet Lo and behold you're predicting a 4-0 whitewash by one of the worst performing away teams against Australia in Australia?! HAHA, this is what makes you Indian supporters so laughable if it weren't so shameful! You should check official stats, not Indian ( on account of you're inexplicable state of accepting anything based in reality) try Wisden records, it's all there in the numbers. Please refresh my memory and educate me on how many test series India has won in Australia? I am aware Australia has won 4 test series in India, look forward to your response, or lack thereof, on account of the reality part.

  • cornel0115175 on March 31, 2017, 9:06 GMT

    Not having Kohli as a friend... No worries mate

  • Harmon on March 31, 2017, 6:38 GMT

    @AussieNSW: You want Aussie like wickets everywhere you go, that's fine if you don't want to play out of your comfort zone but then don't claim Aus can play any team anywhere in any condition. These two can't come together. Talking some more about Aus skills, how do you explain your team being totaled by SA in Hobart just a few months back? Was that an Ind wicket or an Aus wicket ha? If you are so good against pace and bounce then why did your all time great XI unit of 20078 lost to India on the WACA wicket, isn't that wicket touted to be the fastest wicket in the world? Oh wait, now you would have some new excuse for that WACA wicket too. It was not at its usual fast then right? So if Aus can't keep their naturally fast wickets fast why do you expect Ind to somehow magically make their naturally slow wickets fast? Anyways, do tell me how that 85 a.o. happened, that too AT HOME lol.

  • Wayne on March 30, 2017, 21:40 GMT

    @Cricfan66521146. Love your spirit and optimism champ! I've taken a screenshot of your last comment in regards to whitewashing us at home and we'll revisit that when India tours next shall we? I think we have a suspicion how a meek and timid Indian batting line up will fair on wickets that have some pace and bounce. If you guys think the strip at Dharamsala was anything like we'll be dishing up at the GABBA then you obviously don't know much at all about Australian wickets. The Australian players certainly didn't think it was "aussie like" and they should know. We keep hearing about Kohli and his 4 tons in Australia but don't hear much about how useless those scores are in a losing series. They were "4 balls away" from 3-0 in that series just like Ranchi?. India's big test won't just be in Australia where they have NEVER won a series, it'll be everywhere they tour. Start queuing the excuses for the up coming failure in SA. Tired? Wickets don't suit? you've got time to work on them.

  • Harmon on March 30, 2017, 20:50 GMT

    @JAH123: Where exactly did I downplay Smith? I genuinely like the bloke. For a spinner to evolve so much is admirable. I merely talked about stats. Aren't stats being used to justify Smith's stature? I am doing the same for Kohli. He indeed trails Smith in terms of aggregate, 100s and avg. But he is on course to make it all up. He was behind Smith, Root and Williamson till 7 months back and has covered a lot of ground in the mean time. He is on course to soon take the lead. The finer thing about my point was that avg fluctuates. Even for Don 99.94 is not a sufficient parameter as we have seen Voges and Kambli reach those levels. For Don, 2 300s, 29 100s in 80 innings, 300 in a day --- these depict his talent in more wholesome ways. Smith fans too should find something like this. Kohli is the only man ever to hit 4 200s in 4 series, now this is special. He is the only man in 80+ yrs to hit 4 100 in Aus in a series, now THIS is truly special. Its all stats vs stats here.

  •   Waheed Shirzay on March 30, 2017, 18:36 GMT

    Aussies are like this with everyone so Kohli should not take it so serious. Ask English players how they deal with them when playing them

  • Hauke on March 30, 2017, 16:55 GMT

    Does Kohli ever stop whining?

  • anil on March 30, 2017, 12:35 GMT

    AUSSIENSW - Is there anything else to sum up? Why make friends with someone who does not even deserve?

  • wearea1129169 on March 30, 2017, 11:41 GMT

    AUSSIENSW: Don't worry IND will can do the same in AUS as well next time they tour AUS, if not whitewash AUS on green tops

  • Wayne on March 30, 2017, 10:12 GMT

    @cricfan66521146. The last word of your post sums up both Kohli, and yourself, perfectly.

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