Kohli vs Gambhir: History of aggression

New Delhi, May 3

Both Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir don’t believe in pulling punches and have been carrying their own baggage of mutual dislike for each other. The former India teammates were involved in another faceoff after Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Lucknow Super Giants, who have Gambhir as their ‘Global Mentor’, on Monday.

Opinions are divided among those who were present. Some found it juvenile, a few others liked the idea of an intense rivalry, while the firm believers of the ‘Gentleman’s Game’ thought it could have been avoided. An eyewitness, who was in one of the team dugouts, gave a lowdown of the events. “LSG’s Kyle Mayers and Virat were walking side by side for a few metres after the match,” the source said.

“Mayers asked Kohli why was he constantly abusing them and Virat, in turn, questioned why he was ‘staring’ at him. Before that (Amit) Mishra had complained to the umpire about Virat constantly abusing Naveen-ul-Haq. Gautam, sensing that things could turn ugly, pulled Mayers away when Virat made a comment. The exchange that followed seemed a bit juvenile,” he said.

“Gautam said, ‘kya bol raha hai bol (say what you want to say)’ and Virat replied, ‘maine aapko kuch bola hi nahi, aap kyon ghus rahe ho (I haven’t said anything to you, why are you getting involved)’,” he said.

“Gautam added, ‘tuney agar mere player ko bola hai, matlab tune meri family ko gaali di hai (you abuse my player and that’s like abusing my family)’ and Virat’s reply was, ‘toh aap apni family ko sambhaal ke rakhiye (then you control your family)’. Gambhir’s final reply before they were separated was ‘toh ab tu mujhe sikhayega… (so now you will teach me…)’,” he added.

Deja vu

It was a deja vu moment for everyone who had seen the duo nearly come to blows in 2013 when Kolkata Knight Riders, captained by Gambhir, were playing RCB. “It is a complicated relationship between the two. Gautam is not a bad person but not the easiest person to handle. He had no business making the finger on lips gesture at the crowd at Chinnaswamy,” a former India player who shared the dressing room with both the players said.

RCB had suffered a last-ball defeat against Lucknow at home last month. “Now Virat got a chance for one-upmanship. He knows that Gautam has been a staunch critic of his captaincy and even he won’t take a step back,” the player added.

Kohli later said in an RCB video, “You got to take it, otherwise don’t give it.” — Agencies

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