Kohli, Smith met separately by match referee

Captains asked to keep the focus on cricket.

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli shake hands at the conclusion of the first Test in Pune.   -  PTI

ICC match referee Richie Richardson, appointed for the last two Test matches, on Wednesday met rival captains Virat Kohli and Steve Smith separately to douse the simmering tension ahead of the third Test, starting on Thursday. ICC’s media release a few days ago stated that the match referee will bring both captains together for a chat.

On the day, Richardson, who has replaced Chris Broad as per prior ICC appointment, met Kohli and Smith at the ground which well-informed sources termed as a “routine affair”.

Asked about the ICC diktat, a well-informed BCCI source told PTI: “As per rule, the captains have a meeting with match referee before the start of the series. Both India and Australia had one with Broad before the commencement of the series. Now the rule says that if a match referee is changed then new match referee also meets the captain before starting his assignment.”

Smith spoke to the media after meeting the former West Indies captain. “I spoke to Richie Richardson and the other umpires just now. Basically they said cricket is the winner in the Test. Both teams turn to play within rules of the game. We always know that a series between Australia and India is fiercely contested. It’s between number one and two sides in the world. They understand that, it’s just about playing within the boundaries of the game and making sure that cricket is the winner,” Smith told media persons.

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