[ Canberra Times ]

Steve Smith, Virat Kohli argue over India team physiotherapist Patrick Farhart

Date: March 21 2017


Andrew Wu

RANCHI: They've been at the centre of arguments over the decision review system, a shoulder injury and now it's India's team physiotherapist caught in the crossfire in Steve Smith and Virat Kohli's feud.

In a peculiar twist to one of the strongest rivalries in world cricket, Kohli has accused the Australian captain of showing disrespect to Patrick Farhart.

​It follows the bitter dispute which erupted over Smith's inappropriate use of DRS in Bangalore and the Australian captain being falsely accused of making light of Kohli's shoulder injury.

After the storm which followed the second Test, the latest allegation is small fry but underlines how much each leader gets under the skin of the other.

It has emerged Kohli was unhappy the Australians made references to Farhart while the India skipper was at the crease and let Smith know as he made his way to the pavilion. Farhart and Kohli had been working closely to manage the star batsman's shoulder injury which he suffered during the first day.

That Kohli would choose the moment straight after a cheap dismissal to argue with an opponent is puzzling.

"It is funny, all our guys ask about cricket and the first thing you ask is controversial. But it is ok," Kohli said after the drawn third Test when asked about the issue by an Australian reporter.

"These things happen on the field. Four, five of them take Patrick's name. I don't know why. His job is to treat me. I did not find the reason behind it. I could not understand. You must ask him why they started taking his name."

Smith said he was not showing disrespect to Farhart, who is close to several of the Australian players through his 19-year career as NSW's physio. He also held the same role at the Sydney Sixers up until January 2015.

"I am a bit disappointed, I didn't actually do anything," Smith said.

"Virat was having a go at me out in the middle and saying how I was disrespecting Patrick Farhat when actually it was the exact opposite.

"If I was to do anything I think he did a pretty terrific job to get Virat back on the field after that shoulder injury.

"I think he's a terrific physio and does a great job for their team."

Despite what was at stake on the last day, tempers were largely kept in check apart from a dust up in the first session involving India fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

Sharma had been unhappy Matt Renshaw backed away from the crease when he well into his run up, prompting the bowler to bounce the ball through to the wicketkeeper.

Smith said Renshaw had withdrawn after seeing Murali Vijay, who was fielding at mid-wicket, take steps to his left as Sharma was running in. Sharma had the last laugh in that battle by claiming Renshaw's wicket later that over.

"So that put him off and he's entitled to back away," Smith said.

"I'm not sure what happened with Ishant, he obviously wasn't overly happy but to be fair he bowled pretty well after that.

"Whatever it was made him a bit angry and he bowled pretty well the couple of overs after that."