Casual Smith brushes aside Kohli comments

While stating he wasn’t sure if he fell into the group of individuals Kohli did not want to be friends with, the Australia captain quickly pointed out that the India-Australia series was “done and dusted”.

Steve Smith speaks at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.   -  AFP

Steve Smith has taken Virat Kohli’s clarifying comments on Twitter with nonchalance. While stating he wasn’t sure if he fell into the group of individuals Kohli did not want to be friends with, he quickly moved on to talk about the upcoming Indian Premier League. Smith will lead Rising Pune Supergiant this season, replacing the erstwhile captain M. S. Dhoni, who will feature as a player.

At the end of India’s Test series against Australia, Kohli had stated that he would no longer be friends with Australian cricketers, only to clarify on Thursday via Twitter that his comments were blown out of proportion.

In an IPL-related press conference on Thursday, Smith said, “I don’t know if I am one of those couple of players Virat was hinting at in his tweet today. For me, the series is done and dusted and India have outplayed us. I am now ready to lead a new bunch of team at the Pune Supergiant.”

Smith was in New Delhi alongside Ajinkya Rahane and Supergiant’s new signing Ben Stokes.

The recently concluded Test series between India and Australia turned out to be intense and at times bitter, with players from both sides not holding themselves back from having a go at each other.

After India clinched the series 2-1, Kohli gave a no-holds-barred response to a question from an Australian scribe. When asked whether he will continue to be friends with Australians after the series as had been indicated before the series began, he said “No, it has changed for sure. I thought that was the case but it has changed for sure. As I said in the heat of the battle, you want to be competitive but yeah I have been proven wrong. The thing I said before the first Test, I have certainly been proven wrong and you won’t hear me say that ever again.”

Cool and calm

Meanwhile, India’s stand-in skipper for the Dharamsala Test, Rahane said he could not accept the invitation for beers with the Australians as he was busy celebrating with his own team-mates in the Indian dressing room. “We had our own celebrations together in our dressing rooms and I was busy there. It was a very well-fought series and we had to enjoy after a long and successful season,” Rahane said.

Asked about their contrasting styles while leading the side, Rahane said, “I am calm and cool, and that brings the best out of me, while Virat is aggressive and that brings the best out of him. Virat is a great leader, a great ambassador of the game. He has done so well for the country.”

Rahane, like Smith, said that it was time to look ahead to the IPL. “It was a well-fought series and we all played good cricket. Credit goes to Australia for the way they played. But I believe in staying in the present. My focus is on the IPL now.”