India captain Virat Kohli quashed rumours of a reported rift with Rohit Sharma before the team departed for the tour of West Indies but Sunil Gavaskar said the story was unlikely to die down for decades.
Soon after India’s defeat to New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, emerged stories and reports of differences between Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma.
It was said the Committee of Administrators would probe the rift between the two Indian batting superstars and some sections even reported the possibility of a split captaincy. Some felt Rohit Sharma could make for a better captain in the shorter formats.
But hours before leaving for a tour of the US and West Indies, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri addressed the media and sought to put these rumours at rest.
But former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, writing for Sportstar, said no matter what either Kohli or Rohit said, this story would continue to do the round for years.
“Virat and Rohit can shout from the rooftops as much as they can but this story won’t end. Every time Rohit fails there will be those who will nod their heads knowingly and wink, hinting he deliberately got out,” Gavaskar wrote.
“Whoever starts such stories is definitely not a well-wisher of Indian cricket. More often than not it’s a frustrated player in the squad who gives wings to stories like this. His envy and jealousy harm the team. Then of course it suits some administrators to play their own game of politics.”
“For the media it’s manna from heaven and so while it can be suppressed when the cricket is on, the rest days between games is where the story gets fanned further. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are professionals and they will put their heads down and go out to win matches for India but the story won’t stop even 20 years later,” Gavaskar wrote in his column.
Rohit Sharma is yet to speak on the issue but a cryptic tweet soon after Kohli’s press conference had fuelled further speculation.