'If the team atmosphere was not good, then it would have not been possible to play the way we did.'
'Bringing personal life into the picture is disrespectful after a moment.'
India captain Virat Kohli, on Monday, denied reports of a rift between him and Rohit Sharma, saying he was shocked to see 'people were overlooking facts and creating fantasies'.
“In my opinion it’s baffling, to be honest. It is absolutely ridiculous to read such stuff that comes out. I have been to a few public events and the public sentiment that I feel is that everyone comes up and says ‘you played so well, we have so much respect for you’."
"Here we are feeding off lies, we are overlooking facts, we are turning a blind eye to all the good things that have happened and creating fantasies and scenarios in our head and we want to accept that as the truth,” Kohli said in Mumbai on the eve of Indian team’s departure to the West Indies, where they will play three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests, starting on August 3.
Indian cricket has been rocked in the last few days with reports of a rift between Kohli and Rohit.
Apparently, Rohit unfollowed Kohli and his wife Anushka on Instagram which lead to many theories being cooked up about the rift between the two.
“I have also heard a lot in the last few days, we get to hear from the outside only. If the team atmosphere was not good, then it would have not been possible to play the way we did in the last 2-3 years. I know how important the dressing room atmosphere is and the trust factor is to succeed in international cricket. If all those things were not there, then we would not be in this position today. Our journey to No 1 from No 7 (in Tests), we have also been consistent in ODIs, we have been strong in T20Is as well, that would not be possible without the camaraderie, the understanding and the respect."
“I have seen this for too long now, bringing personal life into the picture, it is disrespectful after a moment, honestly,” Kohli stated.
“I have played the game for 11 years, Rohit has played for 10 years. It is bizarre that people are creating this stuff on the outside.
"You come and see the atmosphere in the dressing room. You will see how we talk to Kuldeep Yadav, how we have joke around with a senior like MS Dhoni. You come and see the team atmosphere. We can’t make a video and show you here,” he added.
“It baffles you as a leader, as a coach, as a team when lies are being floated around. They are made to look like they are believable. It is actually very disrespectful to be honest,” the India captain said.
India coach Ravi Shastri, who has been part of the team for the last two years, also dismissed the claims.
“The way this team plays, no individual is bigger than the game, not me, not him (Kohli), nobody in the team. The way they play, it is in the interest of the team. You cannot have the kind of consistency across all formats, if you have, like you mention rifts or divisions or whatever -- it is not possible.
When you play on the cricket field, in that dressing room, I have been part of it for some time, and none of that nonsense was there,” the former India player said.
Kohli said that if there were any differences between him and Rohit he would have made his feelings quite clear.
“I will tell you something about myself, if I don’t like a person or if I am insecure of a person then you will see that on my face or in my behaviour towards the person, that is how simple it is.
I have always praised Rohit, whenever I had an opportunity because I believe he is that good. We have had no issues,” he said.
“As I said it is baffling to be honest. I don’t know who is benefitting from all of this. We here are living, breathing, working towards getting Indian cricket to the top and here people want to get some kind of pleasure in bringing it down. I don’t understand how that works.
"You work hard for four years to bring a team from No 7 to No 1 and after four years what are we talking about. We have to reflect as cricketers, I am sure everyone can take a step and think ‘guys, are we really creating something that’s really not out there?’ Because within the team it is there for everyone to see what kind of camaraderie and friendship, and it is evident on the field. You can’t play with that kind of passion if people don’t get along with each other, it is as simple as that. As I said, it is baffling and it is time that we focus on taking Indian cricket forward and not on things that are not even there at the moment,” he said.