What's the story?
Despite not being in great form, Virat Kohli has continued to attract unwanted attention from the Australian media and his counterpart Cheteshwar Pujara has stood up for his skipper by asserting that the 28-year-old is a great ambassador of the game and it is sad to hear the comments from the media ahead of the fourth Test in Dharamsala.
On the allegations that have been thrown about throughout the series and the claims leveled at Virat Kohli by the Australian media, Pujara said: "I think it's really sad to hear such comments. We fully support Virat and he is one of the great ambassadors of this game. I think the focus has shifted somewhere else which shouldn't have happened. We are looking forward to the next game rather than worrying about anything else.”
Pujara was one of the big winners as BCCI announced the central contract as the batsman was rewarded for his incredible Test form with a Grade A contract for 2016/17 worth Rs 2 crore. While he admitted that it was good to be recognized, he stated the focus is firmly on winning the series at Dharamsala.
After three Tests, the series might be level at 1-1 but the real battle has gone on off the field as far this particular series. The Daily Telegraph compared Kohli to Donald Trump in a recent article and Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland also took a sly dig at the Indian captain by saying Kohli might not know how to spell sorry.
Kohli might not have a single fifty in the ongoing Test series but he hasn’t stopped making headlines. First, it was during the Steve Smith DRS controversy when he fell just short of calling the Australian captain a “cheat” during the post-match press conference after the latter admitted that looking at the dressing room was a “brain-fade”.
Then it was his shoulder injury that caused plenty of hoopla after Glenn Maxwell mocked Kohli and then the Indian captain claimed that the visiting players disrespected Indian physio Patrick Farhart, which was denied by Steve Smith.
A heated series will see its finale in Dharamsala where the fourth and final Test begins on March 25, with the series evenly poised at 1-1 and winner claiming the bragging rights and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Kohli has been at the center of plenty of claims and controversy and the fact that Pujara has come out in support of his captain shows the unity and solidarity that exists within the Indian camp.