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Kohli says Aussie friends comment overblown

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Author: AFPThu, 2017-03-30 15:08ID: 1490865091064198500NEW DELHI: India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday downplayed controversial remarks about ditching Australian cricketers as friends, saying his comments were blown out of proportion and he remained on good terms with some players.Kohli, who captained India to victory in the emotionally-charged four-Test series, told reporters after the decisive Dharamasala match that he would never consider Australian players as friends again.Australian media labelled Kohli’s remarks “classless” in the wake of a series marked by controversies that India claimed 2-1.But the Indian skipper sought to clear the air Thursday as he prepares to share a dressing room with Australian players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament.“My answer at the post match conference has been blown way out of proportion,” Kohli posted on his official Twitter account.“I did not categorically say the whole Australian team but only a couple of individuals.“I continue to be in good terms with the few guys I know & who I’ve played with at RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) & that doesn’t change.”Kohli led RCB to the final last year with Australian players Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson and Travis Head.While Starc will not join RCB for the upcoming season starting April 5, Watson and Head will play side-by-side with Kohli in the Indian club.The hotly-anticipated Test series between India and Australia was overshadowed by bitter exchanges, most notably when Kohli all but accused his counterpart Steve Smith of cheating.Kohli stopped just short of accusing Smith of cheating after the Australian skipper looked to his dressing room while deciding whether to review an lbw dismissal in the second Test.Rules forbid players from consulting with anyone off the pitch about whether to seek a review from the umpires.A war of words ensued as both captains stood their ground. The cricket boards of India and Australia intervened but even a clear-the-air meeting between the skippers failed to smooth things over.After the bitter parting shot by Kohli, Smith also revealed that an invitation extended to India for reconciliation drinks was rebuffed, ending the series in acrimony.Hodge apologizes SYDNEY: Former Australian international Brad Hodge Thursday apologized over suggestions firebrand Indian captain Virat Kohli pulled out of a Test match to save himself for the Indian Premier League (IPL).Hodge came under fire on the subcontinent for his conjecture about Kohli’s injury-enforced withdrawal from the deciding fourth Test against Australia, which ended on Tuesday.“You’d hope as a sportsman that he’s seriously injured,” he told Fox Sports on Sunday.“Because if you miss one game of Test match cricket and you’re fronting up the next week for RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) versus whoever… you’d be pretty dirty if he didn’t front up to a Test match and try and win a valuable series against Australia.”Hodge is due to coach the Gujarat Lions in the IPL, starting April 5, and has been rattled by the backlash, issuing a long apology.“I take this opportunity to apologize to the people of India, cricket fans, the Indian national cricket team and particularly Virat Kohli for my previous comments,” he posted to Twitter.“My intention was never to harm, criticize or be derogatory toward anyone. They were intended to be light-hearted comments with the utmost respect to the IPL which I have thoroughly enjoyed through the years.“The public and fans have every right to be upset, and the backlash I have received has certainly driven this home.”He said that he respected Kohli and meant no “ill intention.”Kohli, captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, hurt his right shoulder while diving to stop a boundary during the drawn third Test against Australia in Ranchi.He sat out the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala, which India won by eight wickets to seal the series 2-1.The 28-year-old said this week his shoulder was taking time to heal because it was not a simple stress injury but an impact injury.Australia’s Glenn Maxwell was also at the center of controversy over Kohli’s injury when he grabbed his shoulder in parody and grinned at his teammates after making a similar stop later in the third Test.
Main category: Sports

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