Indian captain Virat Kohli has given a surprise take on Australia’s ball-tampering scandal, revealing his sadness at seeing how the banned trio were treated in the dramatic post-math to the incident.
Kohli says he felt disappointment about the treatment of Australians Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft after the trio were suspended for ball-tampering in a Test against South Africa in March.
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Cricket Australia banned Smith and Warner from international and state cricket for a year, with Bancroft suspended for nine months.
“What happened after … I felt very bad,” Kohli told Fox Sports in an interview to be aired on Saturday.
“The things that happened afterwards should not have happened.
“The things that hit me the hardest was the way they were received at the airports and escorted out.
“It is not my place to comment on the decisions. But to treat people like that for me it was unpleasant to see.”
Speaking to Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket, Kohli said he would never want to experience such treatment.
“I have known David and Steve and apart from the battles you have on the field you never want to see something of that magnitude happen to two sportsmen,” he said.
“It was sad to see, to be honest. As big a thing as it became, you never want to see anyone go through that.”
In another surprise twist, Kohli also revealed a friendship with Warner, saying he had been in contact with the firebrand since the controversy.
“After that event I have always been in touch with David, me and him get along very well,” he said.
“He’s always nice and sends me texts after games and he’s been very kind to me.
“It takes two people to break a barrier, which might be created on the field – and he’s been more than welcoming in that regard and I have reciprocated in the same way.”
The batting superstar also went into detail about how his attitude has improved throughout his cricketing career, saying he was “so bad” when he first toured Australia.
I” realise my own mistakes myself and just kept correcting them through the journey. But massively different from the last two tours, especially the first one, I was so bad,” Kohli said.
“I didn’t have a good understanding of where to draw the line and stuff like that.
“Those are things that I, I wouldn’t say I regret, but those definitely I look at them as mistakes.
“But mistakes that were important for me to commit so I can learn from them.
“I was never a perfect mould of typical old school cricketer, I always just wanted to find my own way and I guess those things were a part of that journey.”