Why is it always Gambhir vs Kohli even when it’s not? Truth behind viral video | Cricket

Gautam Gambhir vs Virat Kohli never gets old. It’s too spicey of rivalry to let go of. Whenever the two big names of Indian cricket, who also happen to be ‘Delhi boys’, cross paths, more often than not, tempers fly. Such has been the frequency of on-field run-ins between Gambhir and Kohli that fans now go searching for it even when there is nothing. A classic example of that is a short video that went viral on Monday. There is no clarity on the authenticity of the video, especially its audio part which shows Gambhir being riled up by “Kohli-Kohli” chants from the stands during a rain-break of the Asia Cup Group A match between India and Pakistan at Pallekele.

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir(ANI-PTI)
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir(ANI-PTI)

The former India opener, who is currently a part of the Asia Cup broadcast team, then goes on to make an inappropriate gesture by showing his middle finger to the crowd. Hours after the video created a furore on social media, Gambhir came out to deny the fact his reaction was due to the ‘Kohli-Kohli’ chants. He, in fact, said a few Pakistani fans were raising anti-India slogans and that “any Indian” would react in that situation.

Gambhir’s on-camera clarification and then a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) clearly indicate that the video was doctored. Interestingly, the audio on that viral video resembles the one the former opener endured during an IPL match this season after his face-off with Kohli in a match earlier in the tournament. This tells us two things – 1) Gambhir in all probability is right. 2) The fans too cannot be blamed entirely for believing that Gambhir’s reaction was sparked by the ‘Kohli’ chants as the exact same thing had happened before, minus Gambhir’s reaction, of course.

Here’s the complete timeline of the Gambhir vs Kohli saga

To understand the Gambhir-Kohli feud, one has to time travel back to the 2013 IPL when Gambhir was the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders and Kohli was the leader of RCB. In the RCB vs KKR match at Chinnaswamy, after Kohli got out, Gambhir appeared to have said something to the latter which did not go down well with Kohli. He turned back and the duo came face-to-face for the first time on the cricket field. They had to be separated by Rajat Bhatia, a former KKR player.

It was hard to believe that the Kohli-Gambhir relationship which started with the latter giving his Player of the Match award to the former for his maiden international century in an ODI against Sri Lanka in Kolkata, would take such a turn.

That Gambhir and Kohli did not get along well was evident after the 2013 IPL. Three years later, in another IPL match between RCB and KKR, Gambhir and Kohli had another heated exchange when the left-hander threw the ball towards the non-striker’s (Kohli’s) end when there was no chance of getting a run-out.

In IPL 2017, Gambhir’s KKR bowled out RC for their lowest IPL score of 47. The KKR captain’s fiery celebrations were there for everyone to see.

Ahead of IPL 2019, Gambhir announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and became a broadcaster. But his tension with Kohli remained. The latest chapter in his rivalry with Kohli was perhaps the most bitter one. The duo nearly came to blows after an IPL match between Lucknow Super Giants and RCB. Gambhir, the LSG mentor complained that Kohli sledged players after the match.

Another interesting facet one has to take into consideration in between their IPL feud was a series of events taking place in the Indian Test side. With Gambhir already out of contention from the white-ball squads thanks to stunning performances at the top of the order by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, his only hope was red-ball cricket. But when Kohli took over from MS Dhoni as the Test captain in December-January of the 2014-15 Australia tour, he overlooked Gambhir even from the Test set-up. Of course, the left-hander’s dipping form was also a major reason behind that, but Kohli’s decision to move on from Gambhir sealed the deal. Gambhir did make a comeback to the Test side under Kohli’s captaincy in the home series against New Zealand and England in 2016 but was dropped after just two Tests. He never played for India since then.

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