Virat Kohli cops massive punishment over altercation with former teammate

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir came face to face after a somewhat spiteful Indian Premier League clash.

·4-min read
Virat Kohli is pictured left, and on the right is seen arguing with fellow Indian cricket great Gautam Gambhir.
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir have both been fined 100% of their IPL match fees after a spiteful confrontation following Royal Challengers Bangalore's win over Lucknow Super Giants. Pictures: Getty Images/India Premier League

Former India Test captain Virat Kohli has been fined the entirety of his IPL match fee, as has Indian great Gautam Gambhir, after their had to be separated following the Royal Challengers Bangalore's victory over the Lucknow Super Giants on Tuesday. Kohli's Challengers eked out an 18-run victory over the Super Giants in a low-scoring affair that featured a fiery postscript.

Kohli and Gambhir, the coach of the Super Giants, were both stripped of their match fees after being charged with breaching the IPL code of conduct. Kohli had exchanged words with Lucknow batter Naveen-ul-Haq, with teammate Kyle Mayers pulling ul-Haq away from the situation.

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It was then that Gambhir got in the face of Kohli and they had a brief but heated exchange, before players from both sides separated the pair. It's unclear exactly what sparked the confrontations.

It's the second time this season that RCB have faced the Super Giants, with the latter earning the victory in the first meeting. According to the Hindustan Times, Gambhir had launched into a wild celebration after that clash before he and Kohli shared a somewhat 'intense' handshake afterwards.

During that first meeting, Gambhir had also shushed the crowd as part of a celebration - an act Kohli returned in kind when RCB claimed the wicket of Lucknow's Krunal Pandya. Kohli took the catch to dismiss Pandya off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell, blowing a kiss to the crowd and reversing Gambhir's earlier shushing celebration, instead encouraging the home crowd to get excited.

It was a spiteful end to what had been an otherwise entertaining contest, with Kohli (31) and Faf du Plessis (44) the only players in the match to score more than 20 runs. Bangalore also benefited from the return of Josh Hazlewood, who was a key figure in defending their total of 126.

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The quick didn't travel to India for the Border-Gavaskar series with the team determining he would need to be fit for the upcoming Test Championship final and the Ashes. And in a sign that he will be ready for 'Bazball' in just a few months, Hazlewood returned to bowl three brilliant overs to take 2-15 and help Bangalore defend just 127.

The low-scoring match was the opposite of recent games, including the Mumbai Indians' victory that saw Aussie Tim David help chase a record total on the ground, with Lucknow only managing 108. Cricket Australia's team would have been thrilled seeing Hazlewood back out on the field after a serious stint on the sidelines ahead of Australia's biggest two months of cricket in 2023.

Josh Hazlewood pumps his fist after taking a wicket in the IPL.
Josh Hazlewood took three wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore in his first game back after injuring his finger while playing for Australia over summer. Picture: Indian Premier League

Bowling in the power play and a 'death over' he took 2-15 as LSG were bowled out for 108, 18 runs short. "The body was feeling pretty good. It was nice to have a hit-out. It's just so different playing in a game, compared to training," Hazlewood said in his post-match press conference.

"It's a nice little stepping stone, for further down the track. Hopefully I pull up well tomorrow and we go from there. He later added: "It has been a long while," Hazlewood said of his four-month lay-off.

"I was excited more than nervous. It is great to be back here, in front of some good fans." Hazlewood took 20 wickets at 21.85 in four Tests during the last Ashes tour in 2019, but has played only 11 of Australia's subsequent 28 Tests due to muscular ailments.

When he has played he has remained a threat picking up 28 wickets at 22.26. Ben Stokes' recent admission that he has called for 'flat and quick' wickets during the Ashes to help the team's aggressive approach means Hazlewood's inclusion is even more important due to his accuracy.

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