While the Indian batsmen were falling like nine pins against the pace of Mitchell Johnson and company on the fourth morning of the Brisbane Test, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were having a go at each other in the dressing room, it has emerged.
Kohli was reportedly furious that he had to go and bat in a few minutes' notice after Dhawan, unbeaten overnight, expressed inability because of a knock he took on his right wrist while practicing on an uneven pitch. Kohli, dismissed cheaply, lashed out at the opener on returning to the dressing room.
The revelation lifts the lid off the mysterious "unrest in the dressing room" referred to by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the Gabba Test which India lost Saturday by four wickets with a day to spare.Whispers of odd discontent in the Indian camp are heard at times, but such confrontation is rare. More importantly, flare-ups inside the dressing room are not made public. The incident may affect the team's performance further with India already 0-2 down in the four-Test series.
The war-of-words between Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan in the dressing room had to be settled by team director Ravi Shastri. (Getty Images file photo)
HT has learnt from sources that Kohli, who is in great form, was upset to be rushed into play after Dhawan informed the team management that he won't be able to resume batting straightaway. Kohli was the next man in and would have had to face the second ball of the morning if a wicket had fallen off the first.
The vice-captain's demeanour had triggered suspicion that Dhawan was making an excuse to avoid facing the Aussie pace battery in the morning. Kohli was out for one, facing 11 deliveries in his 13-minute innings, playing Johnson onto the stumps. The blame game started on his return to the dressing room. Kohli reportedly blamed Dhawan for his cheap dismissal and the latter responded, slamming speculation that he had chickened out.
Dhawan reportedly told Kohli that he took pride in playing for the country. If his performance was not up to the mark, he would be willing to sit out, but will not take any insinuation that he faked injury. Team director Ravi Shastri had to intervene and calm things down, sources said. Shastri apparently told Kohli that every player, no matter how big he is, must be ready to play in any given situation.It reportedly took some time for the issue to settle down, with the dressing room going quiet after India lost three quick wickets in the space of three overs. Dhawan, who eventually batted after the fall of the seventh wicket, top-scored with 81 runs.