Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli: clash of the former Indian captains Image Credit: PTI & Reuters

New Delhi: The simmering clash between former Indian captains Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly has reportedly hit a new high with the Royal Challengers Bangalore batter unfollowing the Prince of Kolkata on Instagram.

Videos have been circulating on social media when King Kohli gave a deadly stare to Ganguly after taking a stunning catch in the deep while the Delhi Capitals’ Director of Cricket skipped the line to avoid the customary handshake with Kohli after the hosts won the match by 23 runs in Bengaluru on Saturday, stoking the rift. And Kohli unfollowing Ganguly is the latest twist in the tale.

Kohli reportedly used to follow 276 Instagram accounts and Sourav Ganguly was one of them. Though the former BCCI head is not there anymore, still the following count remains 276!

Kohli handshake
Faf Du Plessis and VIrat Kohli greet the Delhi Capitals team after winning the IPL match in Bengaluru on Saturday. Image Credit: SPORTZPICS for IPL

Contradicting statements

The two Indian greats have been at loggerheads since 2021 when Ganguly, the then President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, sacked Kohli as the captain of the Indian One Day International team, and subsequently both contradicting each other’s statements.

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The saga started when Kohli decided to give up India’s Twenty20 captaincy at the end of the World Cup in UAE. However, his desire to remain as 50-over boss was dashed after Rohit Sharma was named the captain ahead of the One Day International series ahead of South Africa tour in 2021 with Ganguly saying that the board doesn’t want a split captaincy in whiteball cricket. He went on to add that they had asked Kohli to remain as Twenty20 captain and since he didn’t agree, the board had not option on the move and the change was communicated to Kohli.

A week later, Kohli made a stunning revelation at a press conference during India’s tour of South Africa in 2021 that there was no communication between him and the selection committee about the change in ODI leadership and he was told hours before the selection meeting for Test series that selectors have decided that he won’t be the captain. Kohli subsequently stepped down as India Test captain after the South Africa series.

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Royal Challengers Bangalore's Virat Kohli celebrates after taking the catch to dismiss Delhi Capitals' David Warner. Image Credit: AFP

Fifth straight loss

To make matters worse, Bangalore inflicted fifth straight loss on Delhi, leaving them perilously close to early exit at the bottom of the table with zero points from five matches. Ganguly, however, is confident that the David Warner-led side can still win their remaining nine matches and make a turnaround.

On Saturday, Delhi suffered its fifth consecutive defeat in the tournament, with a 23-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and are still languishing at the bottom of the ten-team points table.

“We need to put this behind. Back the captain, back each other together and we’ll come back fresh next game. We can’t get worse than this; we can only get better. Still nine games to go and we can win 9 out of 9.”

Better outfit

“It doesn’t matter if we qualify or don’t qualify, it doesn’t matter so much for us at this stage. But let’s look inside, play for ourselves, play for our pride, and see if we can get there,” said Ganguly to the players in a video posted by the franchise.

Ganguly also urged the side that they are a better outfit than what their results show. “We are a much better side than what is happening on the field at the moment. It just takes one game to turn around and we’ll do that.”

“Let’s stick to David (Warner), he’s the captain, and he’s is the most important man in the team. He’s got the hardest job; we’ll stick together and come back better.”

Delhi’s next match in IPL 2023 will be against two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on April 20.

— With inputs from IANS