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Comments inappropriate and not in the spirit of dressing room - Kohli
Cricket news - Comments inappropriate and not in the spirit of dressing room - Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli made it very clear on Friday (January 11) that his team won't support the "inappropriate comments" made by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on a popular talk show recently, which has led to widespread criticism and a potential two-match ban for them. Kohli also insisted that the backlash of their controversial and boorish comments mostly about women on 'Koffee with Karan' has hit Pandya and Rahul "hard" and that they have "understood the magnitude of what's happened". The captain was unsure as far as their participation in Saturday's first ODI at the SCG is concerned, and said that the team will "wait on the verdict like everyone else".
"We are still waiting for a decision to be made but from the Indian cricket team point of view this changes nothing in terms of our beliefs in the change room. It does nothing to the spirit that we've been able to create within the change room and these are purely individual opinions and something as I said which is in an inappropriate. We definitely as the Indian cricket team do not support views like that and that has been communicated and that is that," said Kohli.
He then reiterated his point saying, "I can definitely say that as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers we definitely don't align with those views and those are purely individual views. The two concerned players felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what's happened. Definitely it has to hit anyone hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right."
It's learnt that the team management too had stern words on Thursday with the two players about what's transpired. A senior member of the team management confirmed to Cricbuzz that they had expressed what they thought of the situation in "no uncertain terms" to Pandya and Rahul.
Pandya and Rahul did show up for practice on the eve of the match. Pandya bowled a lengthy spell before having a brief stint with the bat while Rahul spent around half-hour batting in the nets.
While social media has been ablaze with affronts about the two players, there were no awkward reactions or comments from the hundred-odd Indian fans who had gathered near the practice area while the two players walked in. But as Pandya left the area from the far side, without acknowledging the fans waiting for his autograph, one of them couldn't help but slip in a cheeky comment, shouting, "Sachin is always the best". It was a slight at the all-rounder's comment on the TV show about how he felt Kohli was better than Sachin Tendulkar as a batsman.
Some reports earlier in the day had suggested that CoA chief Vinod Rai had recommended a two-match ban on the two players over their "inappropriate comments". But it still remains unclear when the verdict on the matter will be reached. But even while Kohli spoke about wanting to wait for some clarity, indications within the team are that they are bracing up to go in without the two players, at least for the match in Sydney.
"Whatever has happened is unfortunate but there are certain things that are out of your control and things you just need to sit back and wait and watch them unfold," said Kohli.
The Indian captain, fresh from having become the first to lead his country to a Test series win in Australia, though was confident that the controversy will not impact or dampen the morale of the team. He also felt that it won't take away from the achievement of his team or affect their preparation for the World Cup, which is now less than five months away.
"These external factors are not going to derail our motivation or the preparation for the World Cup. And they are definitely not going to dampen anything that we've achieved. Because it's an issue that's happened right now, and it's being addressed. But I don't think anything can take away from what we've done as a team in the Test series. And anything should not be taken away from that. Because as I said, those are pretty much individual opinions. That's not something that we've gone out there and announced or believe in as a team. What we've done as a team, is for everyone to see in the Test series," he said.
"It can get difficult when you don't have a tournament like a World Cup to prepare for. It's difficult for any team to ride that emotional high and then get into that same zone again, purely because of the intensity of the cricket being played. But we're pretty focused on what we need to do and we understand where we need to head as a team," he added.
Kohli didn't believe either that Pandya's absence would affect the team's combination too greatly for now, and said that there were enough back-up plans in place for any eventuality.
"If someone has a niggle, or an injury. You're always prepared as a team for those scenarios, and I don't think we will have too much of trouble if we have to change our combinations. As I said again, understanding the situation and how it'll pan out. We are pretty comfortable as a side and any combination that we go in with," he said.
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