Indian captain Virat Kohli stirred up a major controversy during the Test series against Australia in March when he just stopped short of calling the Australian skipper Steve Smith a cheat as he accused him of taking help from the dressing room while using the DRS. Smith has now gone on to say that Kohli’s claim was nothing but ‘rubbish’.
“It wasn’t until afterward that I realized what a talking point it had become, fuelled by Kohli’s post-match claims that we’d called on off-field assistance twice earlier in the match to help our on-field deliberations,” Smith wrote in his book, The Journey as reported by Cricinfo.
“As far as I was concerned, we’d never tried to consult with the dressing room beforehand and although he said he’d brought those previous occasions to the notice of the umpires, I can say categorically that we were never spoken to by either those umpires or match referee Chris Broad about any such breaches in protocol.
“Virat has always been a player who’s thrived in the most intense of environments, and like me he loves a battle and I can only think it was his way of raising the temperature in the series in an attempt to get the best out of himself. The idea of getting messages from the sidelines for that purpose was not a tactic we as a team ever spoke about and … I can’t work out what he was referring to in his remarks.
“There was never anything further on the matter from the ICC and Virat never detailed the incidents he was referring to. And during the brief interactions we had – including at the captain’s briefing for the IPL as that tournament followed the series – he was friendly and it was as if any ill-feeling he may have had over the incident had disappeared. It was and still is all a big mystery to me,” wrote Smith in his book.
Earlier, in the post-match media conference, Smith admitted it was ‘brain fade’ on his part. However, Kohli claimed the Aussies were habitual offenders and he had already alerted the umpires when the Smith incident happened. Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland attacked the Indian skipper for questioning Smith’s integrity while BCCI lodged a complaint with ICC over Smith’s behaviour. The two boards then agreed to step back.