Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli addresses a press conference ahead of the team's departure to West Indies in Mumbai, on July 29, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Indian captain Virat Kohli got down to a damage control exercise, in the obligatory press conference before the Caribbean tour, about his alleged ‘rift’ with vice-captain Rohit Sharma — saying there was “nothing” between them.

He accused the media of being “disrespectful” by encroaching on the personal lives of the duo.

There is no doubting the convincing nature of his reply, but it may be pertinent to recall a sound bite from him barely two years back when reports of a simmering row between Kohli and then head coach Anil Kumble were creating waves in the Indian media.

As the ‘row’ became a major subplot during India’s campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, Kohli said at a press conference: “So there have been a lot of speculations and a lot of things being written by people without actually being a part of the changing room, which is very strange. There are no problems [between him and Kumble] whatsoever.”

The captain’s views were far from the truth on that occasion, as Kumble stepped down soon after the Champions Trophy final, citing a ‘difference of opinion’ between him and the captain in no uncertain terms.

There would have been no prizes for guessing that Kohli would step out on the frontfoot to the question as instances of such a battle of egos hardly ever elicits an honest response — and the captain has only gone by the script on this occasion.

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There were rumours that Kohli may actually skip the press conference in an attempt to thwart any possible queries on the alleged rift, but the master batsman succeeded in defusing the buzz from snowballing into a major crisis for now. All eyes will be on the pair during the West Indies tour to gauge the vibes between them.

However, the skipper also took this opportunity to throw in his lot behind head coach Ravi Shastri — whose job was perceived to be on the line after India’s shock exit in the World Cup semi-finals to New Zealand. The so-called selection process for the head coach, for which reputed names like Mahela Jayawardene, Gary Kirsten and Tom Moody have applied for, will now be a farcical one!