Australia has lost so much more than the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, they have lost the friendship of one of cricket’s greatest ambassadors and all-round great bloke, Virat Kohli.
The fiercely fought and often bitterly contested Test series between Australia and India has ended in Dharamsala. India claimed the final Test by eight wickets and the series 2-1, fighting back gallantly after losing the First Test by an astonishing 333 runs.
But it appears that words exchanged during the series irreparably damaged India captain Kohli’s feelings for many of the Australian players.
Before the First Test Kohli was enthusiastic about his friendships with his opponents. When asked if he felt the same way after the Fourth Test his tune had clearly changed.
“No, it has changed,” he said. “I thought that was the case, but it has changed for sure. As I said, in the heat of the battle you want to be competitive but I’ve been proven wrong. The thing I said before the First Test, that has certainly changed and you won’t hear me say that ever again.”
Kohli missed the Fourth Test with a shoulder injury he suffered very early in the Third Test. He spent very little of the Third Test out in the middle, so it can only be assumed that he was already deeply offended by that stage. It’s hard to imagine that the Australians had enough time to damage any friendships during Kohli’s brief stays at the crease.
Whether he had access to the stump microphone during the Third and Fourth Tests or whether he never recovered from the nasty way in which the Australians insisted on dismissing him cheaply, no one will ever know. What is known is that the Australian players were turned away from the Indian sheds when they turned up for the traditional post-series beer.
And Kohli wasn’t only upset with the Australians, he saved some advice for those that dared criticise his woeful contribution during the series. In short, he suggested that they try and do better themselves.
“When I’ve done well in the past, people have spoken about me. When I haven’t done well I obviously expect them to come out and say all sorts of things. It’s obviously very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind the mic. I think that’s easier than coming out and competing on the field,” he correctly suggested.
As for the Australians, once the IPL cash grab is over, some will prepare for the Champions Trophy ODI tournament to be played in England in June. The remaining Test players will begin focussing on next Summer’s clash for the Ashes. Having lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and Kohli’s friendship, Australia’s trophy cabinet and players’ hearts are looking quite empty. Let’s hope that regaining the little urn will help them overcome the loss.