Friendships with Australian players damaged after heated series, says Kohli

Virat Kohli
No more friendships with Australian players: Kohli

India captain Virat Kohli has said that his relationships with Australian players have been irrevocably damaged after the ill-tempered, four-match Bordar Gavaskar series, which India managed to win by a 2-1 margin in Dharamsala today. Bitterness between both teams continued to boil over even after the conclusion, with Australia captain Steven Smith expressing disappointment with the BCCI for releasing on-field audio exchange between R Jadeja and Mathew Wade.

Kohli said prior to the opening match at Pune that his friendships with Australian players would not affect the upcoming series.

“I’m really good friends with all these guys off the field,” Kohli had said before the first Test in Pune. “I know them really well, but I know where to draw the line of friendship. “When you step onto the field, I could be playing against my big brother it wouldn’t matter.”

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When asked about if his friendships have stayed the same after India have won the series 2-1, Kohli said everything has changed.

“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.”

Steven Smith, while speaking at the post-match presentation and press conference later, offered apology for his aggressive remarks and behavior during the series.

“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 also added that the audio exchange between Jadeja and Wade should have never been released by the BCCI.

“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.

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“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, who has exerted minimal impact with the bat in the series (46 runs in 3 matches), was also critical of sections of the media who castigated his behavior and form.

“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.”

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