Contrasting post-match statements from Smith and Kohli
As the dust settled this morning on what has been the most remarkable home test series for India in years, all eyes were fixated on how the captains would react in its aftermath. Endless slurs have been thrown by both camps and the fierce bullying was expected to end after the last ball was bowled. It didn’t die down as expected, for both captains made contrasting statements while the series.
Smith Apologises for letting his emotions slip:
Australian skipper Steve Smith ended the series positively by apologising for his inappropriate display of emotions on the field. The series was highly contested and several Aussie players proved their mettle with impressive, fighting performances. Smith commented, “Yeah, it was a fantastic learning curve. For Australians, India is one of the toughest places to tour. I think the way the guys were able to adapt and challenge India in these conditions was fantastic. The guys came with some really good plans and I think it was just about doing those for a little bit longer but I’m really proud of the way the boys have competed throughout the series.” He offered to share a beer with Ajinkya Rahane and the Indian team in line with the Australian tradition. Smith and Rahane will soon be teammates for Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL.
Also read: The Australian’s love-hate saga with Kohli continues
Smith was heavily criticised for his actions by former India players and Kohli himself, first or the DRS-Saga and more recently when he was caught spewing expletives at Murali Vijay for claiming a controversial catch. Smith accepted that he got a little carried away by the intensity and let his emotions spill inappropriately. “I’ve been pretty intense throughout this series. I just wanted to do well for my team and lead from the front with my performance. At times, I’ve probably been in my own little bubble and let my emotions slip a little bit so I apologise for that. But I’ve really enjoyed playing in this series and it’s been a really good learning curve for me and the team as well” concluded Smith.
Kohli in no mood to relent says friendships destroyed:
If Smith finally cooled things down a little, Kohli was in no mood to relent. Kohli’s post-match press conference was explosive, to say the least. He claimed that friendships with Australian players have been damaged beyond repair in the aftermath of this ill-tempered series.
Before the first test in Pune, Kohli had commented on how on-field sledging wouldn’t affect the off-field friendships that the players share. When asked whether he still felt the same, Kohli replied “”No, it has changed, 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.”
Kohli was roasted by the Australian for accusing Smith of cheating in the Bengaluru test, something that the Australian captain said was a ‘brain-fade’. Kohli led from the forefront with his aggressive captaincy but couldn’t contribute with the bat in the three matches he played. There was no love lost between him and the Australian media who hilariously compared him to Donald Trump and criticised him for his personal form and on-field negativity. He was also mocked by the Australian players and commentators for his injury and priorities (Read Brad Hodge).
Also read: Australian media claims Virat Kohli is the Trump of World Sport
Kohli took a jibe at critics who slammed his personal form throughout the series. “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.
Such a stance was unexpected from the Indian skipper. All we can conclude is that the fire isn’t dying down anytime soon.