Things are getting nasty between India and Australia as the CEO of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland today responded to Virat Kohli’s post match comments where he stopped short of labelling Steve Smith a cheat. Sutherland had called Kohli’s comments ‘outrageous’. He called the Aussie skipper an outstanding cricketer and role model for many young cricketers.
“I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous,” Sutherland said. He clearly wasn’t very happy with the Indian captain’s reaction to the DRS controversy and added that CA will not entertain any commentary that questions its integrity. “Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions. We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian cricketers who are proudly representing our country,” he added.
Even the Australian coach Darren Lehmann who was part of the 2004 squad that won the series 2-1 in India jumped in the debate and said he is very surprised by Kohli’s remarks. He denied Indian skippers allegations that Australian players were looking at the dressing room to take inputs. “Never, ever, ever,” was Lehmann’s response when he was asked to speak on the matter. “Very surprised to hear that, but it’s their opinion. He (Kohli) has his opinion and we have ours, but at the end of the day, we play the game the right way. We’ve never done any of that, so we’ll just get on with the next game,” he added.
Yesterday, Kohli stirred up a major controversy by virtually accusing the Australian captain 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,” said a furious yet sarcastic Kohli after winning the second Test by 75-runs. “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.
However, Steve Smith cleared that he had no intentions of taking advice from the dressing room and it was a ‘brain fade’. He gave this statement while talking to media after the match. This isn’t the first time that an India-Australia series is turning out to be an off-field battle along with being the on-field clashes. As far as fans are concerned, this has set up the series nicely with two matches yet to be played.