‘Just bat and shut up, you sound like a child’: Williams recalls Virat Kohli’s ‘notebook celebration’ banter

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | edited by Karan Prashant Saxena
May 12, 2020 10:16 AM IST

India captain Virat Kohli, after smashing Kesrick Williams for a six, had imitated his “notebook celebrations” during the T20I series last year. The West Indies pacer recalls what exactly went down.

The banter between India captain Virat Kohli and West Indies fast bowler Kesrick Williams during the T20I series in 2019 captured a lot of attention from the media, fans and cricketing pundits. The story goes that in 2017, Williams after picking Kohli’s wicket in an ODI match in Jamaica, did his now famous “notebook celebration”. Not one to let the bowlers have the last laugh, Kohli managed to extract revenge on Williams for the moment.

File image of Virat Kohli and Kesrick Williams.(Associated Press)
File image of Virat Kohli and Kesrick Williams.(Associated Press)

Last year, in the T20I series, Williams came into the attack in the first T20I in Hyderabad, and the Indian skipper hammered him for a six. Then, he imitated the bowler’s “notebook celebration”. The moment became viral on social media, and grabbed newspapers headlines the next day.

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In the 2nd T20I, Williams picked up Kohli’s wicket, and then put his finger on the lips to celebrate the wicket. The banter between the two cricketers became the main talking point of the series. In an interview to International Cricket Network 360, Williams recalled the entire episode in detail. Here’s what Williams said:

“Virat Kohli is the first person I did that notebook celebration on in Jamaica. When I did the notebook celebration, I did it because I liked it and I did it for my fans. But Kohli didn’t see it that way.

“After the game finished, I went to shake his hands, Kohli said good bowling but the celebration eeeh and he walked off. He didn’t walk off rudely. But it was the end of our greeting. ‘I felt good playing against you’, he’s the best player in the world, whatever, whatever. We went our separate ways.

“Last year in India, as soon as Mr Virat Kohli walked into bat, he walks straight at me and says, ‘the notebook celebration thing is not going to work here tonight. I’m going to make sure it won’t work’.” 

“And I was like, ‘Seriously! the episode is back from 2017’. Every ball I bowled he said something but, honest to god, the only thing I said to him was, ‘mate, just bat and shut up. Really, you sound like a child.’ That’s all I said to Kohli.

“But all he really heard was just, ‘can you just bat and shut up’, the part about child and whatever he didn’t hear because I was walking back. That’s all I said but he kept talking,” he said. “He didn’t say anything rude, he didn’t say anything disrespectful. All he said was ‘this celebration will not work here tonight, I’m gonna make sure it didn’t work’.

“In the match he beat me really bad, I got confused, because he got into my head honestly and I kept thinking its alright, he got into my head and that’s why he beat me badly.

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“Next day, I’m all over India newspapers, I’m being honest I felt bad. But I like a challenge, I love a challenge and I love fame. So at that moment I told myself, Kohli you’re the best player in the world but you’ve just met the most determined player of the world. Who doesn’t give up, who doesn’t say no and who always grind to come up on top. That’s the player you’ve met. And when things get bad, that’s when I shine,”

“Next day, I’m all over India newspapers, I’m being honest I felt bad. But I like a challenge, I love a challenge and I love fame.

“The next game, we are on our way to Thiruvananthapuram. We are on the plane, and he looks at me and goes like (shaking hand gestures). And I am like, man, I am going to get him out him in the next game.”

“In the match, Kohli is getting ready to bat, sitting in the boundary. I was fielding at fine-leg, every time I look at him, he’s shaking his head. In my mind, I kept thinking, I want you to bat, hurry up and come.”

“What happened next was I tied him down for two overs and the only six that he could hit in the two overs was because I failed to execute the delivery (slow delivery wide off the stump).

“After hitting one six Kohli celebrated, while I thought one six and he reacted that way, I wish we had a full game.”

“At the end of the day, we didn’t have any bad energy, we shook each other’s hands, we go our separate ways. He is not disrespectful, he is very professional. When we have problems off the field, we don’t carry it off the field. So, me and Kohli are good. But I can’t wait for a full game.”

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