What's the story?
Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland has taken a witty dig at Virat Kohli for his outburst on Steven Smith’s DRS controversy in the second Test in Bengaluru. When asked if the Indian captain apologised to his Australian counterpart for questioning his integrity, he responded by indirectly pointing towards the 28-year old’s combative nature.
“Look, I am not sure he (Kohli) knows how to spell the word (sorry)”, Sutherland told Australian radio channel Fiveaa. Not to be taken literally, his statements implied that Kohli was not the type of personality to issue an apology.
Calling for a truce between the two sparring teams upon the conclusion of the fourth Test, he asserted, “After the end of this long and cut-throat series, let’s hope the boys from both teams get together and have a bit of a laugh. I know they are going to spend a lot of time together in the IPL. So I am sure if it doesn’t happen after the Dharamsala Test, it will happen during the IPL.”
In what has been an acrimonious series so far both on and off the field, both India and Australia have not given an inch to each other. During the fourth innings of the Bengaluru Test, Smith was trapped in front by an Umesh Yadav delivery which kept low.
At the insistence of batting partner, Peter Handscomb, the Australian skipper was spotted signalling towards the dressing room for hints on DRS. Visibly aggrieved, Kohli and his troops swiftly brought the incident to the umpires' attention who then sent the batsman on his way.
The heart of the matter
The DRS episode triggered a massive outrage with both camps trading barbs at each other. While Smith attributed the controversy to a ‘brain fade’, Kohli argued that the incident was not a one-off and the Aussies had been seeking help from the dressing room on quite a few occasions.
On behalf of CA, Sutherland termed Kohli’s allegations as ‘outrageous’, BCCI lodged a complaint with ICC after the game’s apex body refused to take action against Smith. With things threatening to blow out of proportion, both boards finally reached an agreement and the matter was settled.
However, the vestiges of the incident boiled over to the third Test. In Ranchi, Kohli suffered a shoulder injury which sparked another skirmish. At the end of the match, he alleged that some Australian players had disrespected India’s physiotherapist Patrick Farhart. Soon after, Smith responded by denying his counterpart’s claims.
The action-packed series will culminate in a winner-takes-all clash beginning on Saturday in Dharamsala. With both teams eager to outsmart one another, the stage is well and truly set for an enthralling finale.
Notwithstanding his jocular remark on Kohli, Sutherland hit the nail on the head when he asked both sets of players to get together at the end of the series and put an end to all the negativity between the two teams.