What can I get you for Christmas, mate?
What can I get you for Christmas, mate?

Angry twist in bitter cricket sledging spat

India has slammed "baseless" reports of a sledging showdown between rival captains Tim Paine and Virat Kohli during the second Australia-India Test.

The Indian team management strongly denied reports that Kohli had belittled Paine as just "a stand-in captain". Both skippers were warned by umpire Chris Gaffaney during the game which Australia won by 146 runs.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India said: "It is 'assumed' that Kohli said, 'I am the best player in the world and you are just a stand-in captain'.

"These claims were based on hearsay and the BCCI would like to bring into notice that no such words were spoken on the field by the Indian captain."

It added: "The BCCI got a clarification from the team management about the incident and would like to classify the reports as baseless."

Australia's win was their first in a Test since a ball-tampering scandal in March, which triggered a damning review of a win-at-all-costs team culture.

Exchanges between Kohli and Paine were picked up by stump microphones and prompted Gaffaney's call to "play the game".

Paine was heard telling the Indian players: "I know he's your captain but you can't seriously like him as a bloke?" At one stage Paine and Kohli came into contact as the Australian captain ran for a single and his Indian rival rushed in from his fielding position.

The two captains played down the exchanges. Kohli, one of the most hard-driven players in world cricket, said it was just competitive "banter".

"As long as there is no swearing the line doesn't get crossed," he said. "And no personal attacks.

"Stump mics and cameras … these things are totally irrelevant.

"It stays on the field."

Kohli and Paine got a bit too close for comfort.
Kohli and Paine got a bit too close for comfort.

Kohli added the remarks in Perth were nothing compared to their Australian tour in 2014, when he claimed to have been called a "spoilt brat".

Paine also insisted his sparring with Kohli did not get out of hand.

"It was a highly competitive Test match from both teams and there was a lot on the line, with both teams desperately wanting to win," Paine said.

"It (Kohli's behaviour) was not (worrying) to me, I love it and I'm sure it was great to watch."

After the ball-tampering scandal, Australia's on-field behaviour was sharply criticised by some commentators who highlighted the team's history of sledging, or insulting opposition players.

Paine said he was pleased with the competitive spirit his team showed in Perth. "At some point you have got to draw a line and start sticking up for yourself and your teammates," he said.

"We are all very passionate about playing Test cricket for Australia.

"I was really proud of the way our team conducted itself on the field this week."




Can’t we all just get along?
Can’t we all just get along?

"I will shove your anger up you're a*** … don't talk bulls***." The most vulgar abuse during the second Test came from the mouth of India veteran Ishant Sharma and was directed at teammate Ravindra Jadeja.

There has been plenty of chat about the slanging match between captains Paine and Kohli that overshadowed Australia's series-levelling victory. But a far more heated on-field discussion unfolded during Australia's second innings on day four, when Channel 7's cameras captured Sharma arguing with substitute fielder Jadeja.

The pair went chest to chest before two teammates, including a patient Mohammed Shami who was waiting to bowl, eventually helped restore order. Audio of the interaction in Hindi, picked up by a stump microphone, was not broadcast but has since emerged and been translated.

"Don't wave your hand at me. If you want something, come to me and say it," Sharma barked.

Jadeja fires back, asking Sharma: "Why are you saying so much?"

"Don't wave your hand at me. Don't take out your anger on me," Sharma replied. "I'll take your anger and shove it up you're a***. I will shove your anger up you're a*** … don't talk bulls***."

Jadeja, nicknamed "Rockstar" by former Rajasthan teammate Shane Warne during the inaugural Indian Premier League season because of his immense confidence, is a fiery customer who had a verbal stoush with Matthew Wade during last year's Test series in India.

"Who knows what they are talking about but it does seem pretty animated. There's lots of finger pointing. They were separated on a couple of occasions," Ricky Ponting said on Seven.

The International Cricket Council announced a raft of changes to the sport's code of conduct earlier this year as part of a crackdown on bad behaviour, notably agreeing that broadcasters should be allowed to use stump-mic audio at any time in games.

Previous guidelines demanded that broadcasters turn mics down when the ball is dead.

India, also not on the same page when it comes to selection, are understood to be furious that Seven highlighted the spat in its coverage.

Jadeja was controversially left out of the tourists' XI for the second Test despite Ravichandran Ashwin's injury, with the tourists opting for a four-prong pace attack.

"We looked at the pitch, we didn't think about that option (picking Jadejda)," Kohli said.

Shami, who claimed career-best figures of 6-56 on Monday, suggested his side erred by not picking a frontline spinner.