ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS West Indies pacer Kesrick Williams has revealed details of his row with Virat Kohli when the Caribbean team toured India last year. He recalled that an unintentional sporting act sparked a competitiveness among the two cricketers that peaked during the tour in 2019.
Williams said that it went all the way back to 2017 when India was touring the West Indies, and the fast bowler had dismissed the Indian skipper in Jamaica and followed it up with his unique ‘notebook celebration’. Two years later, Kohli was still smarting from the incident and brought it up when the two teams faced off in the first T20 international of the three-match series in Hyderabad.
“Hey, you got me in Jamaica the last time you bowled against me, it’s not going to happen here,” Kohli had told Williams when he walked in to bat.
“I was like this thing happened in 2017, this is 2019, this guy really studied this thing? I was like I can’t believe this guy,” Williams told Firstpost.
The West Indies bowler added that Kohli said a few things that he really didn’t want to repeat.
“So I bowled a ball, someone tucked it on to the leg side and I was running for the ball but he was running for a single and I almost butt on him so I stopped and let him pass, and then he looked at the umpire and was like, ‘what’s going on?’ I am like ‘mate, I am sorry I didn’t spitefully do it, I didn’t try to run into you.’ And from there he started. He started saying stuff that I really don’t want to repeat,” he said.
“I am like ‘Yo mate, can you just back (off)’. I was walking back and he was at the non-striker’s end and he’s like ‘This is not going to happen today, I am not going to make you get me out today, never, never you are going to get me out today’. I am like, ‘mate, can you just zip your mouth and bat? Just bat, just play the game and please leave me alone’. And he said some stuff,” Williams said.
He further said that Kohli went on to do his own version of the notebook celebration, and “got on with his antics”. India successfully chased the target of 207 with six wickets remaining.
“He finished the game and wrote me up in his notebook, I don’t know what notebook he had but he wrote me up in it and got on with his antics. He won the game, fair enough,” he recalled.
However, it didn’t end there. Williams narrated that when the teams left for Thiruvananthapuram for the second T20I, Kohli kept watching and making gestures at him.
“I was in the economy class and he was in the business class, he is looking back, watching me and smiling and he’s making a gesture. I am like ‘Yo, I’m going to dismiss you in the next game like for real’. I said, ‘the next game it’s going to be me and you’. Because I had him in my mind now. I am like you are not going to beat me again, never in cricket. This is not going to happen again,” Williams said.
The cricketer said that Kohli tried to do the same during the second match as well, without any provocation. But West Indies fought back this time, winning the match by eight wickets and levelled the series. And the icing on the cake was Kohli’s wicket, which Williams scalped.
“In the second game, I was on the fine leg boundary and he’s sitting there, just staring at me and was like ‘Kesericcccc’. I mean obviously he beat me in the last game so he can do what he wants, he is on top... ‘Kesriccc’ (he went again), I am like I can’t wait for this guy to come and bat. A wicket falls and I am like I am really ready for this guy to come in because I want to get this guy out so badly tonight. I am confident enough that I will get him out,” Williams said.
“When he came to bat, he didn’t say much to me. And I got him out. And I could remember he did a celebration in a Test series where he pinned his lip. And when I dismissed him, the whole crowd went silent and I just told the guys, ‘Relax, let’s keep it silent and let’s just applaud the legend and let him go off. It’s fine. He’s gone. Let him go’. I just pinned my lip and walked back. No celebrations for him. I don’t want to celebrate. Let him go.”
In the third match in Mumbai, Kohli wanted to throw him off his game again, Williams recalled. India won the match and the series, but not without the two cricketers having a go at each other again.
“The third game now, I am warming up. And the skipper (Pollard) was like, Kohli’s really staring at me there. And I’ll be honest, every ball I bowl, every step I make...He is warming up with his team and his eyes are fixed on me. He came into bat, I think I got Rohit, I did that (welcome) gesture and looked at him and said come. He looked at me and started chirping. I was confident then, I got him out in the last game. The first over went for 14. And the other three balls, I bowled to Rahul and they weren’t bad ones. And in my two middle overs before the last over, I got him (Kohli) tied down,” he said.
“He didn’t score a lot of runs off me, it was just singles. And then in the last over, I felt like I haven’t bowled much slower balls to him in this game, now I am going to try to get him out again with a couple of balls left of my last over. And he walked into it and flicked me over mid-wicket for a six. He looked at me and was acting like ‘Yo, I beat you again.’ I am like, dude, I went for 35 for two in the game and you hit one six off me and acting big and macho. And then Pollard was like ‘Yo, don’t give him that energy, leave him alone, go back’. I walked back and was like ‘Mate, try and beat me’. I am confident now. At that point when I went for 60 in that first game, he acted all sorts.”
“I don’t have anything against him. It’s just banter. Because honestly, that guy is one of the best players in world cricket,” Williams concluded.