A contentious, fractious and ill-tempered Test series has claimed a final victim: Virat Kohli's relationships with Australian players, the Indian captain said, have been irrevocably damaged. Tensions continued to simmer even after the conclusion in Dharamsala, with Steven Smith apologising for his behavior during the series, but also registering his disappointment at another bit of off-field sparring.
Before the four-Test series began, Kohli had spoken warmly about his friendships with all of the Australian players but indicated that would not affect the upcoming series. When asked if he still felt the same way after India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1, Kohli was blunt in his reply.
"No, it has changed," he said. "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 I've been proven wrong. The thing I said before the first Test, that has certainly changed and you won't hear me say that ever again."
Smith, meanwhile, admitted his emotions had got the better of him at times during the series and offered an apology for his behaviour. He first apologised on the televised post-match presentation and then reiterated it in the following press conference.
"I set myself high standards and I wanted to lead from the front with my performances" Smith said. "I have sort of been very intense in my own little bubble and at times I have let my emotions and actions just falter a little bit throughout this series and I apologise for that.
"That's a big stride for me moving forward and something I can really learn from and continue to grow as an individual and as a leader."
Smith, however, expressed disappointment with the BCCI for airing on-field exchanges between R Jadeja and Matthew Wade through a video clip on its website, in which umpire Ian Gould could be heard trying to intervene.
"Yeah, I was a little bit disappointed that the BCCI sieved through the archive to find a conversation out on the field that was happening between Matty and Jadeja," Smith said. "It's happened between both sides throughout this series, so the fact they've done that to us is a little bit disappointing.
"Usually what's said on the field should stay on the field. It's been a hard-fought series and guys are going to say things here and there, their emotions are going to be high. And so they should be in such a big series. So I was a little bit disappointed by the fact the BCCI did bring that out.
Kohli also fired back at sections of the media who criticised his behaviour and form throughout an unusually lean series: he made only 46 runs in three Tests.
"As I've said before, it's not in my control," said Kohli. "I've heard a very wise person tell me that when a person is down, the weak come out and speak about him. It takes courage to speak about someone when they are on top. It's fine, I was targeted individually and I hadn't done well in the series. So opportunities galore for everyone to come out and speak about me.
"When I've done well in the past, people have spoken about me. When I haven't done well I obviously expect them to come out and say all sorts of things. It's obviously very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind the mic. I think that's easier than coming out and competing on the field.
"That's all I have to say about that."
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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