31 July 2019
New Delhi: Hours before the Indian team left for the US to play two T20 internationals against the West Indies, skipper Virat Kohli had rubbished rumours of any rift in the dressing room. In fact, coach Ravi Shastri went a step ahead and said that no individual was bigger than the team.
Interestingly, vice-captain Rohit Sharma has now posted a photo on Instagram which says: "I don't just walk out for my Team. I walk out for my country."
Speaking at the pre-departure conference, Shastri had said: "The way the team plays, no individual is bigger than the team. The way they play is in the interest of the game. You cannot have that consistency if there is a rift or whatever."
Skipper Kohli had in fact called the rumours of a rift baffling. "In my opinion, it's baffling to be honest. It's absolutely ridiculous to read such stuff that comes out. I have been to a few public events and the public sentiment is 'aap log kya khele (you guys played so well)'. We have so much respect.
"We are feeding off lies. We are overlooking facts. We are turning a blind eye to all the good things that has happened. We are creating fantasies and scenarios in our head and want to accept that this is the truth.
"I have seen this for too long now. Bringing personal lives into the picture. It's disrespectful after a moment. We've had no issues. If I don't like somebody, it shows on my face. I have also heard a lot in past few days but if team atmosphere isn't good, we couldn't have played well," Kohli insisted.
The leak of the news that one of the senior players had his family stay with him for longer than the stipulated period and the further clarification that it was done without the permission of skipper Kohli and the coach has created an atmosphere of mistrust in the dressing room.