Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has categorically denied reports of rifts between him and Rohit Sharma, which have been making the rounds after the team returned from England after their loss in the semi-finals of World Cup 2019. Reports emerged of divisions in the dressing room with the Indian captain and vice-captain reportedly not in the best of terms. "In my opinion it's baffling to be honest. It's absolutely ridiculous to read such stuff that comes out. I have been to a few public events and the sentiment is 'aap log kya khele (you guys played so well)'," Kohli told reporters in a press conference in Mumbai ahead of India's departure to West Indies. “We are feeding off lies. We are overlooking facts. We are turning a blind eye to all the good things that has happened. We are creating fantasies and scenarios in our head and want to accept that this is the truth," he reacted to the rift rumours. Virat claimed that India wouldn't have been the successful team as they are if not for the camaraderie and understanding in the dressing room.
Recently, there were speculations that Rohit 'unfollowed' Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma on Instagram, which added fuel to the fire. Kohli said bringing in personal lives was disrespectful. "I've seen this for too long now, bringing personal lives into the picture. It's disrespectful beyond a point, honestly. I've played the game for 11 years, Rohit has played for 10 years. It's bizarre that people are creating this stuff on the outside. You guys come to the change room and see, we can't make videos and show you guys.
"It baffles you as a leader, coach and a team when lies are being floated around. They are made to look like they are believable. It's disrespectful." Kohli said it was time for everyone to focus on Indian cricket and not on 'things that don't exist'. "I'm the kind of person who, if I don't like a person or insecure about him, you'll see it on my face or in my behaviour towards that person. That's how simple it is," he said. "I have always praised Rohit at every opportunity because I believe he is that good. We have had no issues. As I said it's baffling. I don't know who is benefiting with all these stories. We are living, breathing, living and working towards taking Indian cricket to the top. And then people want to get some kind of pleasure in bringing it down. I don't understand how that works. You work hard for four years to bring a team from seven to one, and after four years what are we talking about."
"Within the team, it's there for everyone to see - the friendship and camaraderie. It's baffling and ridiculous to read such stuff. It's time we focus on taking Indian cricket forward and not on things that are not even there." Coach Ravi Shastri too dismissed speculations strongly saying: "The way this team plays, no individual is bigger than the game. The way they play is in the interest of the team. You cannot have the kind of consistency across all formats if you have rifts or divisions or whatever. It is not possible. I've been a part of that dressing room for some time, and none of that nonsense is there."
Kohli also answered questions regarding the newly-minted ICC Test Championship, the World Cup defeat and the upcoming T20 World Cup. "Test cricket is the most important format for me, nothing comes above it for me," Kohli said.