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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Baffling, disrespectful: Virat Kohli quashes Rohit Sharma rift rumours

This was the first time, either of the two had reacted on the issue, various reports about which have been simmering since India’s defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup earlier in the month.

cricket Updated: Jul 30, 2019 08:22 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri, left, looks on as captain Virat Kohli addresses a press conference.
Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri, left, looks on as captain Virat Kohli addresses a press conference.(AP)
         

Virat Kohli doused a potentially explosive situation, by opening up about reports of a rift between him and Rohit Sharma. Addressing the media on the eve of the team’s departure to the West Indies, Kohli said: “We have had no issues. I don’t know who’s benefitting from all of this. “It’s baffling, it’s time that we take Indian cricket forward and not focus on things that are not even there,” said the India captain while admitting he had heard about the talk, “I have also heard a lot in the last few days. You get to hear from outside only.”

This was the first time, either of the two had reacted on the issue, various reports about which have been simmering since India’s defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup earlier in the month.

 

It began with the news of how the wife of a senior batsman had overstayed during the duration of the World Cup without permission from the management. To fan the flames, there was talk of Sharma being in contention for captaincy in the limited overs format. And it spilled over with news that Sharma had ‘unfollowed’ Kohli’s actor-wife Anushka Sharma on the social media app Instagram.

Also read: No one communicated to me that I needed rest for this series, says Virat Kohli

Kohli handled the questions with a relaxed smile.

Coach Ravi Shastri interjected briefly, saying, “very soon you will hear wives batting and bowling. The way this team plays, no individual is bigger than the game. Not me, not him, nobody in the team. I have a been a part of that dressing room and none of the nonsense is there,”

Then Kohli calmly took over and spent considerable time answering the question.

“If I don’t like a person or if I am insecure of a person, you will see it on my face or at my behaviour towards that person,” he said. “It’s as simple. I have always praised Rohit whenever I have had the opportunity because I have felt he is that good.”

Also read: Ravi Shastri takes a dig at media on questions surrounding Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma rift rumours

Sharma scored five centuries at the World Cup to emerge as the top scorer of the tournament. Kohli had a relatively low key event, failing to convert any of his four half-centuries into a century. We are living, breathing, to take Indian cricket to the top and people want some kind of pleasure to bring it down,” Kohli said. “I don’t understand how that works. You work for years to bring the team from 7 to 1, and after four years, what are we talking about?

“It’s for everyone to see the camaraderie and that’s evident on the field. You can’t play with that kind of passion if people don’t get along with each other.”

To emphasise his point that there was harmony in the dressing room, the India captain said: “I know how the dressing room environment and trust factor becomes important to succeed in international cricket. The journey that we have had in ODIs, in Tests (from No 7 to 1) and T20s, that wouldn’t have been possible without camaraderie, respect and understanding,”

Kohli also went on to say that bringing the cricketers’ personal lives into it was crossing a boundary. “Here we are feeding lies, overlooking facts,” he said. “And creating fantasies and scenarios in our head and we want to accept this is the truth. I have seen this for too long now. It’s bringing personal lives into the picture and it’s disrespectful.”

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 23:58 IST

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