New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) India skipper Virat Kohli’s allegations on his opposite number Steve Smith apparently seeking advice from the Australian dressing room on asking for the Decision Review Syestem (DRS) during the second Test in Bengaluru, was on Wednesday fuelled after both the cricket boards and former greats siding with their respective captains.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released a detailed statement urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to intervene just after Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland hit back at the allegations on Smith as “outrageous”.
After pulling off a 75-run win in the second Test against the Kangaroos, the 28-year-old Kohli had on Tuesday stopped just short of accusing the visitors of cheating, claiming that they had repeatedly looked to the dressing room for DRS advice, which Smith defended by terming it a brain fade.
“There’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field, sledging and playing against the opponents is different. I don’t want to mention the word, but it falls into that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field,” Kohli said adding that he had approached the match referee to oppose it.
Kohli’s comments drew sharp criticism from the Australian side with Sutherland outrightly rejecting the charges on Smith as “outrageous”.
“I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian Team and the dressing room, outrageous,” Sutherland said.
“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.
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann also threw his weight behind the embattled skipper, saying: “Never, ever, ever. 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 changed the way we want to play, we’ve obviously changed the side and we’re a younger side so I’m pretty pleased with the way we do things now. We’ve never done any of that, so we’ll just get on with the next game,” he added.
Former Aussie skipper Steve Waugh also came to Smith’s defence, saying: “It was a fantastic Test match. It’s a shame we are focussing on one incident. I would go with what Steve has said. I would take him on face value.”
“The best part was umpires stepped in and stopped at then and there. Looking back Smith will be embarrassed and must have learnt a lesson,” Waugh added.
On the other hand, the Indian board also came to Kohli’s defence and requested the ICC to take cognizance of the fact that Smith in his press conference admitted to a ‘brain fade’ at that moment.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode steadfastly stands with the Indian cricket team and its captain Virat Kohli,” the board said in a statement.
“Virat Kohli is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary.”
“Kohli’s action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Nigel Llong, who rushed in to dissuade Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance,” it further read.
The BCCI also urged the ICC to intervene in the matter as Smith himself conceded of a brain fade during his address to the media.
“BCCI has requested the ICC to take cognizance of the fact that the Australian skipper Steve Smith in his press conference admitted to a ‘brain fade’ at that moment. BCCI sincerely hopes that the rest of the matches are played in the true spirit of cricket,” it said.
Kohli also received due support from India legends like Kapil Dev and V.V.S. Laxman for asking the Aussies to play the game in the right spirit.
“Also, it was so disappointing seeing Australian team’s captain behaviour on field today (Tuesday). Totally against the spirit of this game,” the 1983 World Cup winning skipper tweeted on Tuesday.
Laxman on his handle wrote: “Really disappointed with the way @stevesmith49 looked @ the dressing room 2 take a review. Totally against the spirit of the game.”