Ashwin responds to Anderson jibe at Kohli

Ravichandran Ashwin wasn't too pleased with the comments which James Anderson made in the media about Virat Kohli's technique.

Ashwin and Anderson had a confrontation on Day 5 of the fourth test between India and England.   -  K.R Deepak

As much as his four wickets that sealed India’s fifth successive series win on the last morning at the Wankhede Stadium, the half-hour passage of play on Monday morning will be remembered for the warm welcome he gave to James Anderson. The fast bowler – who was involved in a bitter spat with Ravindra Jadeja during India’s tour to England in 2014 – would have expected a bit of a backlash, but not from Ashwin.

The off-spinner, whose elevation to vice-captaincy in the absence of Ajinkya Rahane was formalised, made it amply clear to Anderson that his comments about India captain Virat Kohli were perhaps unwarranted. Ashwin walked with Anderson all the way from the non-striker’s end till Anderson took guard to call for umpire Maraius Erasmus’ intervention from the square-leg. Even between the change-over, Ashwin continued to have a go at Anderson, with Jadeja expectedly chipping in.

But Kohli in his new avatar as a mature captain tried to be the peacemaker. “For the first time, I was trying to calm things down in the middle at a time when James Anderson is involved,” Kohli said with a smile later, making a reference to the 2014 episode.

“Ashwin wasn’t pleased with what he (Anderson) said in the press, and I didn’t even know about it. He (Ashwin) told me on the ground, so I didn’t know what to make of it, I was laughing about it. Ashwin wasn’t too impressed and he let him know, not using any bad words, honestly, I think he told him he was pretty disappointed with what he said and it is important to accept defeat as it is. Things like that.”

Kohli didn’t have to be prodded to reveal what exactly Ashwin said to Anderson. “Just general,” he continued. “You know how Ashwin is. He is to the point, can really strike you well and he doesn’t need to say bad words. Later on, I told James these things happen and let’s move on.”

Anderson, when asked about how much has Kohli changed as a batsman in the last two years, had taken a dig at the batsman’s technique. “I just think any technical deficiencies he’s got aren’t in play out here. The wickets just take that out of the equation,” Anderson had said.

However, Kohli indeed appeared to be trying to cool things down. The India captain was involved in a chat with Anderson soon after he became the last England batsman to fall. Kohli then moved to Ashwin and the duo chatted all the way to the dressing room.

England captain Alastair Cook referred to the episode as a dampener between the spirit of the size but stood right behind Anderson. “It was a bit of a sour end really. A disappointing end in terms of how well the spirit between both sides has been played,” Cook said. “It was clearly reference to what Jimmy said yesterday which has kind of been blown out of all proportions which it can do here. He was just stating a fact which if you asked Virat is probably quite true. But yes, it was obviously just ticking up for their captain which I thought was slightly unnecessary.”

Well, the fate of the series may well have been decided and a cyclone may have cooled the atmosphere in Chennai a little bit. Be assured that the Ashwin-Anderson episode will ensure that the final rubber of the series will be far from being a drab affair.