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5 controversies surrounding Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli
Umid Kumar Dey

Virat Kohli is no stranger to controversies. Ever since his younger days, the former U-19 captain has courted attention towards through erratic behaviour. He has, however, matured a lot over the years and is not more controlled than ever before – after all, he is now the captain of the Indian cricket team in all formats of the game.

However, you can’t really change a man completely – he is always bound to go back to his natural ways every now and then. With Kohli, controversy is always knocking the door – and sometimes he answers them.

Without further ado, here are the 5 instances where the Indian captain couldn’t keep his emotions intact and attracted controversy towards himself…


#5 Showing the finger

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04:  Virat Kohli of India gestures with his middle finger to the crowd during day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 4, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Giving the Sydney crowd the finger

Virat Kohli has always been a temperamental character. He gets animated very quickly and goes where the rush of blood takes him. So when a group of Australians were heckling the life out of him at Sydney cricket ground, he retaliated by showing them the middle finger.

In the first week of 2012, when India took on Australia at Sydney, the Australian batsmen spanked the Indian bowlers all over the park. If that wasn’t enough, the Australian crowd were relentless in their approach of bringing down the Indian players’ mentality.

At one point, Kohli thought that he had had enough and lifted his middle finger towards them. He was rather unapologetic about it, tweeting: "I agree cricketers don't have to retaliate. what when the crowd says the worst things about your mother and sister. the worst I've heard (sic)".

In the end, the Indian batsman was fined 50% of his match fee for the dissentious action.

#4 Breaching BCCI’s rule

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 28:  Anushka Sharma, girlfriend of Virat Kohli smiles as Kohli celebrates after reaching his century during day three of the Third Test match between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Anushka Sharma applauds Virat Kohli after his century

Love is a strange phenomenon, no-one can really explain it and yet people could cross any boundary for it. Virat Kohli’s relationship with Anushka Sharma is one of the most highlighted in the celebrity world.

The pair, who once broke up just to get back together stronger than ever, are often seen together and look genuinely happy with each other. Indeed, sometimes it feels as though Virat Kohli is completely adores her.

And it was this craziness that once got him into trouble with the BCCI for breaking a sensitive rule. During an IPL game against Delhi Daredevils in 2015, the Indian skipper was spotted chatting with Anushka Sharma in the box during the rain break.

Extra cover: Virat Kohli in IPL through the years: The transformation in pictures

According to the anti-corruption guidelines, a player isn’t allowed to interact with anyone apart from his team-mates and team staff during an ongoing match. Kohli, however, wasn’t punished for it and was let go with just a warning.

#3 Abusing a journalist

India v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy Final : News Photo
Kohli later apologised for the incident

This was once again a matter that had love for its core. It seems as though Virat Kohi is very protective of his love – like everyone is supposed to be – and can’t take it when someone makes up something derogatory about her

During a practice session at Perth in 2015, Virat Kohli shouted abuse at a Hindustan Times journalist for his article on Anushka Sharma. Not only did he yell at the reporter, but also used expletives to display his displeasure.

As it turned out, the journalist Kohli abused didn’t even write anything like that and was just a victim of Kohli’s poor judgement. The BCCI, however, initially denied that the player had abused someone, but then went on to warn him over his antics without actually punishing him for it.

In the end, Kohli held out the olive branch at the journalist by apologising to him for his unruly behaviour.

#2 Steven Smith saga

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 10: Australian captain Steve Smith shakes hands with Virat Kohli of India after winning the series during day five of the Fourth Test match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 10, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Steve Smith congratulates Kohli for winning the series

Back in March this year, when India took on Australia in a Test series at home, it courted a lot of controversy for the banter between these two teams. It all boiled over when Steve Smith was adjudged LBW in the second Test in Bengaluru and then gazed at the dressing room to seek advice on whether he should review the decision.

Players aren’t allowed to take external help while making a decision on reviews and, hence, as a result, it irked Virat Kohli to the point where the Indian captain actually insinuated Steven Smith of unethical practises during the Test.

Extra cover: Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith: A promising rivalry

"I saw that happening two times when I was batting out there," Kohli said.

"I pointed that out to the umpire as well that I had seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation.

"And that's why the umpire was at him (Smith). When he turned back, the umpire knew what was going on exactly. We observed that, we told the match referee and the umpire that it's been happening for the last three days and it has to stop.”

Steven Smith later expressed his disappointed over Kohli’s suggestions and admitted to having a “brain fade” before apologising for it.

#1 Conflict with Kumble

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Not on the same page

And this is the latest and perhaps the most controversial of it all. According to some reports, the captain-coach pairing had stopped communicating properly since December of last year. Apparently, the players didn’t like Kumble’s ‘headmasterly’ approach which deprived them of freedom in the dressing room.

Kumble’s tenure with the Indian cricket team might have lasted for only a year, but it bore fruits – especially in Tests – and that’s why his resignation was a disappointment for many. However, according to the legendary leg-spinner, his relationship with the captain had become “untenable” and that “it was best for me to move on.”

Kohli was criticised for this in some quarters of the cricketing fraternity with Sunil Gavaskar actually suggesting that “if any of the players are complaining [about Kumble’s style], I feel those players are the ones who should be left out of the team."

One can never really know what truly happened between the two, but the fact that the problems between one of India’s greatest cricketing minds and potentially its best ever batsman couldn’t be solved is a shame in itself.

Edited by Staff Editor

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