Days after his disgusting war of words with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) mentor Gautam Gambhir made headlines across the world, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) talisman Virat Kohli reportedly wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to explain his side of the story.
According to the report, Virat Kohli also highlighted his disappointment with the Indian cricket board for levying a heavy fine on him.
The 34-year-old reportedly pointed out that his conversations with Naveen-ul-Haq or Gautam Gambhir were not harsh, and his altercation with these players shouldn't have attracted such treatment from the BCCI.
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir were fined 100 percent of their match fees by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for their highly publicized war of words.
“Lucknow Super Giants’ Mentor Gautam Gambhir has been fined 100 per cent of his match fee for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct during the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow. Mr Gambhir admitted to the Level 2 offence under Article 2.21 of the IPL Code of Conduct,” a statement from the Indian cricket board said.
“Royal Challengers Bangalore batter Virat Kohli has been fined 100 per cent of his match fee for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct during the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow. Mr Kohli admitted to the Level 2 offence under Article 2.21 of the IPL Code of Conduct.”
“Lucknow Super Giants’ Bowler Naveen-ul-Haq has been fined 50 per cent of his match fees for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct during the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow. Mr Naveen-ul-Haq admitted to the Level 1 offence under Article 2.21 of the IPL Code of Conduct,” the official release added.
The RCB superstar reportedly was miffed with Naveen ul-Haq's aggressive behavior and complained to BCCI about the same.
The row started during the concluding stages of LSG’s run chase, in the 17th over of their essay, when a charged-up Virat Kohli had a long discussion with the on-field umpires.
A little later, the video of the ugly episode was broadcast on the big screen by Star Sports, the official broadcasters of the premier T20 tournament.
In the footage, Virat Kohli could be seen saying something to Naveen-ul-Haq, resulting in the Afghan player charging him. The Delhi-born cricketer, however, was taking none of it as he immediately responded with a tirade of his own before showing his shoe to Naveen-ul-Haq. But it wasn’t exactly clear what the former India captain said.
The nasty scenes during the game didn’t stop there.
After players of the two teams shook hands, Gautam Gambhir charged at Virat Kohli, with the former looking visibly upset with the latter over an issue.
In the viral clip, the RCB superstar argued with the LSG mentor over something before KL Rahul and Vijay Dahiya intervened and separated Gautam Gambhir from Virat Kohli.
For the uninitiated, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli don’t share the best of relationships with each other. The two fought with each during the 2013 IPL when Gautam Gambhir was the skipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Since 2013, the relations between the two Delhi-born cricketers have remained frosty.
Last month, when RCB played LSG at their home ground, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Gautam Gambhir broke into wild celebrations after his side overhauled a huge total to beat Virat Kohli’s team in their den.
It was followed by a tense handshake between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli before the LSG mentor took a dig at the home crowd by making a “keep quiet” gesture.
Veteran Team India batter Manoj Tiwary joined the group of cricketers who have raised questions about the BCCI’s role in the Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli saga.
Tiwary dubbed the incident as “unpleasant”.
“BCCI should step in. This is not a pleasant sight, especially when you are an ambassador of the game, you shouldn’t do such things. IPL is one of the most popular tournaments in the world, a lot of people watch it, especially youngsters. A lot of young people want to become like Virat Kohli. So, it is important to find the root cause of clashes like these. Healthy competition is good for the sport but not incidents like these,” Tiwary said on Cricbuzz.
“This cannot go on. These two are icons as I had said earlier. When icons quit cricket, people want to remember them for what they have done on the field rather than other things. People mostly will remember Gambhir for his aggression, that will be the first thing that will come to their mind. They will forget that he has played a major role in India winning two World Cups. This should not happen. This is not the right example to set,” Tiwary, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad that was captained by Gautam Gambhir, said.
Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said that he was “ashamed” of the whole episode and it wasn’t “right for cricket”.
“I am ashamed of what I did with Sreesanth in 2008. Virat Kohli is a legend, should not get involved in such things. Whatever happened between Virat and Gambhir was not right for cricket,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
“Virat, you are a big player, there is no need for you to get in a fight with anyone, what is the need for all this? Everyone will start pointing fingers and blame, but all of this is not a good advertisement for cricket. They are such big players, Gambhir is an MP as well, these are my little brothers, and nothing good will come off this. This is all useless,” Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel.
“Kids watch you guys play and it is our responsibility being ambassadors of the game that we impart the right image to the younger generation. I hope that my two brothers will hug it out and bury the hatchet. That will be a very positive message for everyone,” he signed off.