India beat Australia as 'egomaniac' Kohli turns on tourists
Bad-tempered series reaches new low as victorious captain says he is no longer 'friends' with the Australians
India cemented their status as the world's number one cricket team with a 2-1 Test series victory over Australia. However, the match could have ramifications for the forthcoming Indian Premier League thanks to the bad blood it generated between the players.
In the wake of his team's eight-wicket win in the fourth and final Test, Indian captain Virat Kohli ended the "acrimonious" series with a new low as he "declared that his friendship with Australia's cricketers was over", reports the Daily Telegraph.
"Despite his struggles with the bat, and an injury that kept him out of the final test, Kohli has remained in the eye of a raging storm," adds the paper.
Things blew up in the second Test, when the captain accused his Australian counterpart Steve Smith of sharp practice after he was spotted asking for help from the dressing room before challenging an umpire's decision.
The sniping continued throughout the rest of a series "filled with petty spats and controversy on and off the field", says The Guardian and there were several more confrontations in Dharamsala involving players of both sides, despite Kohli's absence with a shoulder problem.
"Smith expressed hope last week the bitter rivals would share a beer following six weeks of acrimony," says the paper. "Based on Kohli's comments that almost certainly won't happen. The Australian captain asked Ajinkya Rahane, who led India in the absence of Kohli and is a teammate of his at Indian Premier League club Pune, about the prospect after play. India's stand-in skipper replied he would get back to Smith."
Before the series began, Kohli said he was "really good friends" with many of the Australian team. Asked about that comment after the final match, he replied: "The thing I said before the first Test, that has certainly changed and you won't hear me say that ever again."
His words have not gone down well in Australia. According to Ben Horne of the Australian Daily Telegraph, Kohli "saved his biggest disgrace for last as he pushed India's victorious captain off centre stage and bitterly declared his 'friendship' with Australian players dead forever".
It was an "extraordinary display of selfishness" and the captain has only "reinforced his reputation as an egomaniac as he tried to write Rahane out of the history books and virtually accuse Australia of being responsible for the ugly breakdown in relations this tour".
Wisden India sees it rather differently. "There is a certain streak of aggression to Kohli that may not be to everyone's liking... [but] it is a massive surprise that he has stirred the emotions of Australians like few others have," writes R Kaushik. "The Australians don't believe in pussy-footing around their opponents on the cricket field, but as has historically been proven, while they are very good at giving it, they are not so good when it comes to getting it themselves."
"Amid all this, season ten of the Indian Premier League is almost here. At least half the current Australian team will be seen in action... though it is just as well that there is no member of the current Australian Test team in Kohli's Royal Challenges Bangalore."