Virat-Gambhir spat continues to rattle bigwigs as allegations fly all around


Royal Challengers Bangalore's Virat Kohli celebrates a wicket in a match against Luckow Super Giants during in Lucknow on Monday (ANI)

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Mumbai/Lucknow

Former India batter Gautam Gambhir lashed out at senior journalist Rajat Sharma, who once was the president of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), for his coverage of an apparent spat between him and star batter Virat Kohli following the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), in which the latter emerged victorious.

The altercation happened at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Monday after RCB bowled LSG out for 108, scoring 126/9 in 20 overs, with skipper KL Rahul batting through a leg injury in an unsuccessful attempt to take his side to victory. Kohli had celebrated the fall of the LSG wickets during their innings with his trademark aggression. He was also seen blowing kisses to the crowd.

In the previous encounter between the two sides last month, LSG team mentor Gambhir had signalled the RCB home crowd to be quiet after the visitors scraped to a narrow win. Not only did Kohli blow kisses at the Lucknow crowd when their team lost a wicket, but he also emulated Gambhir by pressing his finger to his lips, emulating the latter’s gesture for the crowd to keep quiet.

At the conclusion of the match, LSG opener Kyle Mayers walked up to Kohli and started speaking something when Gambhir came and took the West Indian away. Moments after this incident, cameras picked up Gautam Gambhir speaking animatedly with Virat Kohli. Other players, including KL Rahul, and support staff were seen separating the two. Kohli was then seen having a lengthy chat with LSG captain KL Rahul.

After the match ended, Gambhir and Virat shook hands and things looked fine then.

Rajat, in his news programme on India TV, claimed Gambhir had an inflated ego after being elected a Member of Parliament on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. He also said that Virat, whom he called an “aggressive, no-nonsense player” was someone who could “give it back” to Gambhir. The journalist claimed further that Gambhir’s actions were against sportsmanship, did not behove his status as an MP and were damaging to the gentleman’s game.

Gambhir, in response, sent out a tweet Rajat Sharma’s popular show ‘Aap ki Adalat’. “A man who ran away from the job of running Delhi Cricket, citing pressure seems over-eager to sell paid PR as concern for cricket! yhii klyug’ hai jhaaN ‘bhgodd’e’ apnii ‘adaalt’ claate haiN (It is, perhaps, a testament to the times we are living in that a truant is running his own court),” Gambhir tweeted.

Rajat had resigned as DDCA president in November 2019. He was appointed to the post in July 2018.

Coming to the match between LSG and RCB, Gambhir and Virat were fined 100 per cent of their match fees for breaching the Indian Premier League Code of Conduct.

LSG bowler Naveen-ul-Haq was also fined 50 per cent of his match fees for breaching the Code of Conduct. Naveen admitted to the Level 1 offence under Article 2.21 of the IPL Code of Conduct.

Only Dhoni knows when to quit: Harbhajan

With MS Dhoni apparently recreating a “definitely not” moment for the cricket fans after his reply to a retirement question during the toss against Lucknow Super Giants on Wednesday, the ace cricketer has once again kept everyone guessing about his future after this season of the Indian Premier League 2023.

The former India Captain, when asked during the toss against Lucknow Super Giants in Lucknow, about his retirement talks bowled a googly telling commentator Danny Morrison that he never commented on whether or not IPL 2023 will be his last season. Danny Morrison asked during the toss, “Clearly, This wonderful swansong tour, your last. How are you enjoying it?”. To which Dhoni replied, “You have decided it is my last IPL, not me.”

The four-time IPL-winning captain’s statement was enough to trigger a debate over his retirement rumours. Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh while commenting on MS Dhoni’s IPL future stated only Dhoni knows when he will retire.

Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Harbhajan Singh said, “Only MS Dhoni knows when Dhoni will retire. I said last year that he will play this year. I don’t know if he will play next year as well. Yes, if he plays next year, the fans will be happy to see him playing. Fans have always wanted to see him playing.”

Former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif went on highlight the importance of MS Dhoni – who isn’t just a player but also a mentor – in the CSK set-up.

Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Mohammed Kaif said, “Mahi is no longer playing as a player but as a mentor. He chooses the team. Let’s get on the field. He does not tease the seniors much but keeps on teaching the youth all the time. He wants every player, playing under him, to perform well as it will make the team’s job easier.”

Earlier on Wednesday, MS Dhoni was felicitated ahead of the IPL 2023 clash against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni and Lucknow Super Giants skipper Krunal Pandya pose for a picture during their match in Lucknow on Wednesday (ANI)

Rohit Sharma completes 200th match as MI player

Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Rohit Sharma completed his 200 matches playing for Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League (IPL) in Wednesday’s clash against Punjab Kings (PBKS) onWednesday.

Rohit Sharma joined the Mumbai side in 2011 and has since been playing for MI. He started captaining the side in 2013 and in his first stint as skipper, he won his maiden IPL title. He has been the most successful captain in IPL history, winning the coveted trophy five times.

Rohit has played 235 IPL matches, scoring 6063 runs at an average of 30.01 and a strike rate of 129.97.

He has played 200 matches for MI, scoring 5,166 runs at an average of 30.03 with one century and 34 fifties. His best score is 109*.

In the ongoing IPL, he has featured in eight matches so far, scoring 184 runs at an average of 23.00 and a strike rate of 132.37. His highest knock is 65 this season.

Before joining Mumbai Indians, Rohit played for Deccan Chargers. He has 1,170 runs in 45 matches playing for Deccan Charges at an average of 30.79. His best for the Chargers was an unbeaten 76.

Rohit also led the Mumbai franchise in Champions League Twenty20, scoring 322 runs in 11 matches. His best in the tournament was an unbeaten 51. He scored 49 runs in 2 CLT20 matches for Deccan. And in 9 games, playing for MI, he has scored 273 runs.

Krunal Pandya registers unwanted record

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) all-rounder Krunal Pandya, captaining the side against Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match instead of injured regular skipper KL Rahul, registered an unflattering record on Wednesday.

Krunal became the third batter to be dismissed on a duck in his debut as captain. After LSG skipper KL Rahul suffered an injury during the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Krunal Pandya stepped in as a stand-in skipper in a clash against Chennai.

Only three batters got out on 0 in their debut match as captain. India’s Test legend VVS Laxman was the first player to register this unwanted record. He was dismissed for no score against Kolkata Knight Riders while leading the Deccan Chargers in IPL 2008.

Before Krunal, Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Aiden Markram was dismissed for a duck against LSG in the ongoing IPL.

After the first innings, the match between LSG and CSK was called off to due rain.

Put into bat first by CSK, LSG struggled without their regular skipper KL Rahul. Manan Vohra opened with Kyle Mayers but the duo failed to speed up the scoring rate in the powerplay overs.

Spinner Moeen Ali picked up the first wicket for CSK, dismissing Mayers for 14 (17 balls). In trying to hit one into the stands, the burly West Indian was caught by Ruturaj Gaikwad at long-on. LSG were 18/1 in 3.4 overs.

LSG’s spin woes continued as Maheesh Theekshana sent back Manan for 10 (11 balls) and stand-in skipper Krunal Pandya was also caught at slips by Ajinkya Rahane for a golden duck, sinking LSG to 27/3 in 5.5 overs.

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