A day after Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli stormed at each other on the field,hurling expletives,players from Gambhirs Kolkata Knight Riders insisted that the clash was the culmination of sustained provocation by the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The RCB camp was tightlipped on the incident. On Thursday,both Gambhir and Kohli had played down the clash. Gambhir said things happened in the heat of the moment,and Kohli said,What is done on the field is done.
A KKR player who was in the thick of things at the Chinnaswamy Stadium said Australian Moises Henriques had started it all when Kolkata were batting,and Bangalore skipper Kohli had turned a blind eye to the all-rounders behaviour.
They started abusing our players. It started from the very first over. When Gambhir survived a run out chance,he was sledged. After every wicket,they were having a go at our batsmen. Surprisingly,Kohli never tried to calm things down. Rather he joined in the sledging, said the player.
He said that KKR had not planned to give it back to RCB when they batted. But things suddenly escalated when Kohli got out.
Gambhir doesnt lose his patience easily on the field but when Kohli got out something snapped. He was fuming at the lack of respect shown by his Bangalore counterpart. For Kohli,it was a clear case of getting back what he had given. Our batters had ignored the abuse and walked when they got out. Kohli should have done the same, said the player.
Another player said that had it not been for Rajat Bhatia,a senior to both Kohli and Gambhir in the Delhi Ranji side,things might have gone out of hand. Bhatia is someone who everybody respects. It helped that he was there, he said.
Indian cricket has seen controversies like the Harbhajan Singh-Sreesanth incident,and the onfield fight between Delhis Raman Lamba and Barodas Rashid Patel in the 1980s,but a clash between statemates is rare.
The relationship between Gambhir and Kohli is believed to have soured since the right-hander replaced the opener as vice-captain of India.