India captain Virat Kohli stopped just short of calling the Australians cheaters in an explosive press conference following India’s remarkable 75-run win in Bengaluru.
Tensions boiled and threatened to spill over when Australian captain Steve Smith sought help from the dressing room with regards to taking a review after he was struck on the pads and given out to Umesh Yadav while on 28.
Smith said that the whole incident was a ‘brain fade’ on his behalf as he looked towards the dressing room after he was given out. Smith turned to the dressing room after his batting partner Peter Handscomb motioned towards the pavillion. Smith added that ‘he shouldn’t have done that.’
“I got hit on the pad and looked down to Petey [Handscomb] and he said look up there, so I turned around and it was a bit of a brain fade on my behalf. I shouldn’t have done that.
“I was looking at our boys, so shouldn’t have done that and it was a bit of a brain fade.”
Kohli, however, was far less dismissive of the event.
“Honestly, if someone makes a mistake while batting, for me personally, that’s a brain fade,” Kohli said. “The way I left the ball in Pune, you know, getting hit on the off-stump. That was a brain fade. But if something is going on for three days, then that’s not a brain fade, as simple as that. I don’t want to say more on that, videos are out there for everyone to see.”
“It was getting repetitive, that’s why the umpires also knew that it might happen again. I saw it two times when I was batting, I can vouch for that.”
Kohli said that he knew of atleast two other instances when the Australians sought help from those in the dressing room in the last three days. He added that he had mentioned it to the on-field umpires about the same and that was perhaps one of the reasons the umpire Nigel Llong was able to spot Smith asking for help from upstairs.
“I saw that two times happening when I was batting out there. I pointed it out to the umpire as well, that it has happened twice, that I’ve seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation, and that’s why the umpire was at him. When he turned back, the umpire knew exactly what was going on, because we observed that, we told match referee also, and the umpires, that they’ve been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop, because there’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field.
“Sledging and playing against the opponents is different, but… 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.”
When asked if he was saying the Australians were cheating, Kohli said ‘I did not use that word, you did’.