VIRAT Kohli has once again raised his middle finger to Steve Smith and Australia, lighting the fuse for another bitter Test match in Ranchi.
The Indian captain declared he had “no regrets” about his damaging allegation last week in Bangalore that the Australians were systematic cheats.
Still angry about his team’s integrity being dragged through the mud, Smith is seeking a face-to-face explanation from Kohli before play today about what evidence he had to back up his scandalous and damaging attack, however, mooted plans for a peace treaty have seemingly been left in tatters.
Smith turned up the heat on Kohli to produce evidence, slamming his comments as “complete rubbish”.
“We’ll see what the mood’s like at the time … I might be able to ask a few questions,” Smith said of Thursday’s pre-toss meeting with Kohli and match referee Richie Richardson.
“Virat obviously stuck by his comments. From my point of view I think they’re completely wrong … saying that we do it (misuse DRS) consistently, that’s complete rubbish in my opinion.”
Smith reiterated his confession that he had made a huge mistake by misusing the DRS in Bangalore, but Kohli refused to back down from the vitriolic spray he unleashed on his opposite number, setting the scene for an explosive third Test that at 1-1 will prove pivotal in this series.
“I (thought) about what I said. I don’t regret anything that I’ve said,” said Kohli.
“But at the same time it’s very important not to be stupid and go on with the same thing on a daily basis because there’s cricket to be played. It was a mature decision on everyone’s part to move on from that. We’ve seen instances from the past where it stretches on too long.”
Pushed further on whether he was standing by his claims that Australia had deliberately tried to cheat using DRS on several occasions, Kohli attempted to argue that he had never even levelled an allegation in the first place, pointing to the ICC’s refusal to fine him as proof he is innocent.
“What were the allegations?” Kohli hit back.
“What is the allegation called? It (matters) because (I have to) be questioning something about someone to call it an allegation. If no charges were pressed against me, how are those allegations?”
Smith was eager to meet with Kohli, clearly with some burning frustrations he wants to get off his chest about the behaviour of the Indian captain – adamant his vicious claims were baseless.
But the ICC, who contributed to the escalating tensions by failing to take action against either Kohli or Smith in the first place, decided to leave the meeting until the 11th hour – rendering the whole concept of peace talks largely hollow.
“It was a little bit disappointing. I think that obviously I made a mistake and I came out and said that. What I did was wrong and I know that,” said Smith.
“But that’s the first time it has happened. I know as a team we don’t do that. And I think his comments where he said that we did it twice while he was out there … I don’t think he was out there long enough for two appeals.
“He’s entitled to his opinion but from my point of view he’s completely wrong.”
Asked would he raise his displeasure with Kohli, Smith said: “Yeah, if we can talk about it then yeah, I can’t see why not,” he said.
“As I said I’ve never seen this happen in our team. Obviously I made that mistake with the one I went up for, but that’s the only time it’s happened.”
Smith said he’d never seen a wicket as “dark” in colour as the Ranchi mud heap, and believes if the wicket proves as extreme as it looks, Australia could potentially benefit by the match becoming a complete lottery.
The Australian captain confirmed Pat Cummins’ pace looks set to get him over the line as Mitchell Starc’s replacement – while Glenn Maxwell is fighting it out with Marcus Stoinis for the all-rounder position.
However, it’s understood Maxwell is the firm favourite unless there is a change in thinking from selectors.
Smith said Australia will refuse to try and clinch the Border Gavaskar Trophy on emotion.
“Making sure we’re playing on skill and not letting our emotions get in the way of anything,” he said.
“There’s always lots of emotions flying around so we expect that.
“From India, coming over here, we know how passionate they are and how much they want to do well in front of their 1.2 billion fans.”
Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Wade, Pat Cummins, Steve O’Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
India: Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Ravi Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Jadeja, Ishant Sharma
Originally published as Kohli blasts ‘complete rubbish’ claims
Online Source: www.news.com.au