England all-rounder Ben Stokes played down his verbal duel with Indian captain Virat Kohli on Day 1 of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad on Thursday. He said that cricketers, by nature, are competitors and do not like to back down.
The altercation between Kohli and Ben Stokes was a heated one at the end of the 13th over as the two could be seen arguing. The Indian captain was unhappy about something that was said to Mohammed Siraj by the England all-rounder. Kohli and Ben Stokes had an extended discussion before umpire Nitin Menon had to intervene.
However, saying that there was nothing much to it, Ben Stokes said at the post-match press conference:
"It was two professionals showing how they care about the sport they love and enjoy playing. When two guys exchange words on the field, it’s about competing as well as we could. I am sure that was what was seen. So yeah, just two guys who care what they do.”
The England all-rounder, who made a dogged 55 in England's underwhelming total of 205 added that there was nothing wrong with two guys 'competing' against each other, referring to his duel with Siraj. He further said in this regard:
“The thing in cricket is that it becomes a massive talking point when two opponents have a word with each other. People seem to think, I do not know why, it is all wrong. Look at it from a different way, guys care about what they are doing and what they are representing. We are competitors, and we are not going to back down to anyone, whatever it may be.”
Mohammed Siraj claims Ben Stokes was swearing at him, so Virat Kohli intervened
Even as Ben Stokes played down the altercation between him and the Indian players, Mohammed Siraj offered a completely different take on the sequence of events.
According to the pace bowler, Ben Stokes was swearing at him after bowling a bouncer, so the Indian captain had to step in. Speaking at the end of the first day’s play, Siraj said:
"He (Ben Stokes) was swearing at me, so Virat intervened and handled that well."
Even as the spinners dominated proceedings again, Siraj was impressive with the ball, picking up the key wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. On his bowling effort, Siraj said:
“We planned to bowl patiently and keep bowling at the same spot. Virat bhai told me that we have only two fast bowlers, so we will keep rotating, and we will be well-rested.”
India ended Day 1 on 24 for 1 after bowling out England for 205, with Axar Patel claiming four wickets and Ravichandran Ashwin three.