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India captain Virat Kohli during a practice session. Inset: Kohli with some of the Indian team members in a photo tweeted by Kohli himself and captioned as ‘Squad 100’. The photo went viral in light of the absence of Rohit Sharma from the snap. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Just two days ago, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli had categorically denied any rift with his colleague and team vice-captain Rohit Sharma. But he made sure that when he took to Twitter to share a picture of him with some of the members of the Indian team and captioned it as ‘squad’, there was no Sharma in the picture!

Kohli, who has mastered the art of denying news that can be uncomfortable for him and his future as captain, proved that he is also a master at social media as he sent out subtle messages expressing his views through the internet.

During the press conference prior to the Indian team’s departure for North America and the West Indies, Kohli was well aware that the questions about the reported rift will be posed by the media. He could have easily proved that all the stories about a division in the team regularly appearing in the Indian media were false by inviting Sharma to address the conference. However, what emerged was not news on the team composition for the tour or on the strength of the opposition, but Kohli’s denial of the rift.

Years ago, Kohli had similarly denied any difference of opinion with the then coach Anil Kumble. When Kumble stepped down stating differences of opinion with Kohli, media reports were found to be true.

Kohli had condemned the media stating that bringing personal lives into the picture is disrespectful, but he presents himself in the public by expressing his views through Twitter and Instagram. This is how the media got a whiff of the rift as being severe — not only between Kohli and Sharma, but also their respective wives, since they all have unfollowed each other on Instagram.

In the picture that Kohli tweeted with the title ‘squad 100’, there is Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul and Krunal Pandya.

The media had earlier brought to light Kohli’s actress wife Anushka Sharma’s cryptic message on Instgram following the rift saying: “A wise man once said nothing. Only truth can shake hands with silence in a mess of false appearances.”

Meanwhile, Kohli’s statement on Ravi Shastri as his choice for the head coach’s post, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited applications for the post, has put the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee made up of Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy in a tough situation. Kapil, who was attending a public function in Kolkata, was asked about it, as well as Gaekwad. Reacting to Kohli’s statement, Gaekwad said: “The captain can say anything. It doesn’t bother us. We are a committee. That’s his opinion and the BCCI takes note of it, not us.”

Kapil tactfully handled queries from the media stating that it was Kohli’s opinion and that we will have to respect everybody’s opinion.”

Meanwhile, the BCCI has received close to 2,000 applications for the post of India coach, which includes the head coach, batting, bowling and fielding coaches. Though Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene was expected to apply for the head coach’s post, he pulled out at the last moment. Legendary fielding coach Jonty Rhodes has applied for the fielding coach’s post.