Australia coach Darren Lehmann has rubbished India skipper Virat Kohli’s allegations that the visiting side had made it a practice to seek dressing room help to gain unfair advantage for reviews under DRS in the current Test series.
“Never, ever, ever,” the former Australia all-rounder was quoted as saying by the Cricket Australia’s website cricket.com.au after Virat Kohli criticised counterpart Steve Smith for looking towards the dressing room for a signal after being given out LBW in the second Test, which India won by 75 runs on Tuesday to level the series 1-1.
“Very surprised to hear that, but it’s their opinion,” Lehmann said. “He (Kohli) has his opinion and we have ours, but at the end of the day, we play the game the right way.
“We’ve changed the way we want to play, we’ve obviously changed the side and we’re a younger side, so I’m pretty pleased with the way we do things now.
“We’ve never done any of that, so we’ll just get on with the next game.”
Cricket Australia CEO defends Steve Smith
Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland, waded into the controversy, slamming Virat Kohli’s comments.
“I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous,” Sutherland said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions.
“We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian cricketers who are proudly representing our country.”
Dressing Room Review
The controversy erupted as India won the Bangalore Test with a day to spare dismissing Australia for 112 in their second innings. Australia skipper Steven Smith was seen looking towards the dressing room after he was given out leg-before off India fast bowler Umesh Yadav for 28.
Seeking outside help for a review --- which must be done within 15 seconds of the umpire’s decision --- is against rules, and umpire Nigel Llong asked Smith to leave the crease. Australia, reduced to 74 for 4 chasing 188 for victory after lunch on Day 4, were all out after tea.
After the match, Smith admitted batting partner Peter Handscomb had suggested he turned towards the dressing room for an indication and that he should not have done that, describing his act as ‘brain fade’ and a one-off.
‘Falls in that bracket’
However, Virat Kohli, who addressed the media next, said the Aussies had looked to the dressing room for a signal twice when he was batting in the series, and he had brought it to the umpires’ attention.
When an Australian reporter asked if he felt the visiting side were cheating, Kohli said “I didn’t use the word. You did.”
However, Kohli said it went against the spirit of the game. “…we take our decisions on the field ourselves. We don’t ask for confirmation upstairs …,” adding: “I saw that happening two times when I was batting out there. I pointed it out to the umpire as well, that it’s happened twice, that I’ve seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation, and that’s why the umpire was at him.
“When he turned back the umpire knew exactly what was going on, because we observed that, we told match referee also, and the umpires, that they’ve been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop, because there’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field, because sledging and playing against the opponents is different, but… I don’t want to mention the word, but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field.”