Virat Kohli reveals why he gave Steven Smith an aggressive send-off in the 1st T20I
Virat Kohli has made himself a presence in the ongoing tour that the Australian cricket team will not remember fondly any time soon. Not only has he plundered runs against all their bowlers, he has also not held back on unleashing verbal barrages at even their most senior players.
A controversy that took place in the 1st T20I on Tuesday at Adelaide was because Kohli had celebrated Steven Smith’s wicket with more enthusiasm than was warranted. After pouching his catch, Kohli screamed at gestured at Smith as he walked back disappointed.
The moment turned out to be a turning point in the match, as Australia collapsed from 89/1 in 9 overs to being 151 all out. The moment also got fans exchanging theories as to why Kohli had been so aggressive in his send-off. The theory that was most widely accepted then, and which led to a different controversy of its own, was that Kohli was angry with Smith for having talked to commentators with the player microphone while batting in a high-profile match as that.
Kohli, talking to Channel 9 in the innings break in the 2nd T20I on Friday, explained the moment. Contrary to what had been accepted as the reason for the outburst earlier, Kohli denied that he even had knowledge that Smith had been mic’d up.
“I had no idea he had the mic on,” Kohli divulged.
When Kohli stepped in to protect young Pandya
Rather, Kohli was angry with Smith for having gone after young Hardik Pandya. Pandya had gone for 19 runs in the over immediately before the one in which Smith got out. The 23-year-old, bowling his first over in international cricket, had a horrible start to his career.
Pandya’s first over consisted of five wides, one six and a four. Smith had also said something to Pandya in the course of the over, in an attempt to make his debut even more nightmarish. Kohli, who is now a senior player in the team, took it upon himself to give Smith a talking back for the sake of Pandya.
“He was sort of having a go at our junior bowlers - after hitting a boundary he was having a go at them - so I told the umpires to keep an eye out otherwise I would have to step in.
“They did nothing and in the end I told him that he could go talk in the change room. It had nothing to do with the commentary.”
Virat’s action must have worked, as Pandya came back stronger in his subsequent overs and the hosts collapsed to a humiliating defeat. Virat Kohli’s vocal send-off to Steve Smith was an act of revenge and older-brotherly protective instincts, as it has now been made clear.
Kohli makes it clear that he gave Steve Smith the send off cause Smith was having a go at Pandya. That clears it all now. Fair enough.— Clive (@vanillawallah) January 29, 2016