Ranchi: Virat Kohli does not regret his showdown with Steve Smith over DRS but the Indian skipper today said he has decided to bury the hatchet and focus on the third cricket Test against Australia starting here tomorrow.
Kohli, who had stopped short of calling Smith ‘cheat’ after their dramatic 75-run win against Australia in Bengaluru, was flooded with questions on the DRS controversy but Kohli had only one answer: Time to focus on cricket.
“A lot has been given into the incident. It’s time we focused on the remainder of the series. There’s lot of cricket to be played and it should not happen in bad taste. What’s happened in Bengaluru happened in Bengaluru, we are in Ranchi and we should look forward to tomorrow,” Kohli said at the news conference on the eve of the third Test here.
“Both teams have moved ahead from Bengaluru. I think the focus should get back on the series because the priority is here cricket. All other things happen in the background, we understand that as cricketers.”
Smith’s gesture of taking help from his teammates in the dressing room for a DRS call after he was adjudged LBW by umpire Nigel Llong erupted into a controversy as Kohli at the post-match news conference did not utter the word “cheat” but said it “falls in that bracket”.
It led to an exchange between the two rival captains before ICC intervened and brokered peace without penalising anyone in what was snowballing into another controversy like the bitter monkeygate episode.
In his first interaction after his tirade against Smith in Bengaluru, Kohli said he did not regret what he said but at the same time he wanted to move on.
“See, I think about what I say. I don’t regret anything that I’ve said. But at the same time, it’s very important not to be stupid and go on with the same thing on a daily basis because there’s cricket to be played,” he said.
“There was a decent break in between. We certainly don’t want to sit and think about one issue all the time. We have two test matches to play and that’s what we need to focus on.”
Hailing both the Boards to call truce after ICC’s intervention, Kohli said: “It was a mature decision on everyone’s part to move on from that. We’ve seen instances in the past when it stretched too long and it just caused disharmony and there’s no (other) outcome.
“We just need to focus on the two games. You will always have two sides of the coin…that just takes the focus away from the game that we all are sitting here because of. I think it’s in the best interest of everyone that we move on and focus on the game.
“It’s not the first time in my career people have spoken about me and certainly not the last time. I would have done few things right in my career to be given the opportunity to captain the side.
“As long as you’re honest and you work hard, you are answerable to no one. Everyone has their own opinion. I’m not challenging anyone. It’s totally up to them if someone challenges me. I am not going to hold a banner saying don’t speak ill about me. It’s all part of a whole journey.