Indian captain Virat Kohli today stirred up a major controversy by virtually accusing the Australian captain Steve Smith of cheating in the usage of DRS, flaring up the tensions between the two sides.
“We have been inconsistent with the DRS but we take our decisions on the field, we don’t ask for confirmation from the dressing room,” a sarcastic Kohli let it rip after India’s 75-run win in the second Test.
“I have seen it twice while batting. I have seen their players looking upstairs (dressing room). I told the umpires, this had to stop. 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,” he added.
Asked if he was accusing the Australian team of cheating, Kohli retorted, “I have not said that either.”
It was the 21st over of the Australian second innings, which collapsed to 112.
Smith was trapped LBW by pacer Umesh Yadav and having already blown a DRS call, involving David Warner, the Australians were in a fix on whether to go for another referral.
Smith first turned to the non-striker’s end to seek an opinion within the mandated 15 seconds. But sparks flew when the umpires noticed that the batsman had turned towards the dressing room as well to get a clue.
The on-field officials immediately intervened to stop Smith but matters came to a head when Kohli too joined the discussion, leading to an exchange between him and the rival captain.
Rules pertaining to the usage of DRS clearly state that “signals from dressing room must not be given”.
In the post-match press conference, Smith sought to douse the fire, calling his actions a “brain fade” and something he shouldn’t have done.
But Kohli was in no mood to relent and claimed that this was not the first time the Australians had sought dressing room instructions on DRS calls.
“I can only say, if it happens more than twice, it’s not brain fade,” he said.
Smith and Kohli had a brief but charged-up exchange of words before the former walked back to the pavillion. Smith played down that exchange as well, calling it “just banter”.
Kohli was spoken to by the umpires after Smith’s departure.
The two captains have had their fair share of run-ins during the series, frequently exchanging barbs on the ground.
As for the performance, Kohli said: “After losing the first Test the way we did, we wanted to bounce back and not show to anyone but ourselves how well we can compete. We showed the intent and the belief that we can win from any position,” Kohli said at post match presentation ceremony.
“It was about taking responsibility. The way they showed heart and character, along with the crowd, is unbelievable. The moment they did not score big in the second innings, we knew we had a chance. We knew if we got anything over 150, we had a chance.”
The Indian captain emphasized the significant role played by Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane with their 118-run stand for the fifth wicket.
“After conceding the lead, Pujara and Rahane had a champion partnership. Two best Test batsmen we have got, showed so much character and technique and heart. Wriddhi’s knock in the end, Ishant’s application, that was a bonus.
“We would have liked anything over 200, we thought from 225 there was only one winner. The moment we got 187, we knew we needed in-out fields, we needed to finish it today. Can’t wait for Ranchi. We need to push that momentum further. The team is not going to look back now,” he said.