Kohli skips pre match conference in Newlands ahead of first test

[caption id="attachment_61065" align="alignnone" width="580"]DSC08087 Team India Head Coach Ravi Shastri at the Newlands Stadium on Thursday. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Indian captain Virat Kohli sparked off a mild controversy here at the Newlands stadium by skipping the pre match conference on Thursday. Kohli along with other members of Indian team decided to cancel their training session ahead of the first test match which starts at Newlands Stadium from Friday.

The team had an optional training session on Thursday at the venue but decided against at the last moment. Skipper Kohli also gave the pre-match press briefing a miss, a noticeable departure from convention for a bilateral engagement.

India's assistant coach Sanjay Bangar instead arrived to address the media, that too after a delay of over an hour.

Early in the day, the team management declared the pre- Test practice session would be an optional one.

However, it was surprising to see none of the players arrive for even a brief session. Even those, who are not expected to play a part in the Cape Town Test, didn't come out for practice.

Only the support staff, including coach Ravi Shastri and chief selector MSK Prasad along with batting coach Sanjay Bangar and bowling coach Bharat Arun showed up to take a final look at the match wicket.

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis though attended his pre-match conference at the stadium.

A source in the Indian team management outlined that nothing should be read into it "since it is only an optional practice session" ahead of a hectic series. According to a MoU signed by both the boards – Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA), it is manadatory to send a member of a team for the pre match conference. The captain is not bound to attend the press conference like is the case for ICC events.

It is a general convention for the two skippers to address the press at the start of any series. Both captains did attend the trophy unveiling ceremony at the Newlands.

This is somewhat surprising that the touring Indian captain skipped the pre match conference. Kohli’s predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni never missed a pre- Test briefing, especially when travelling overseas. Even in the West Indies last year or recently in Sri Lanka, Kohli was present in all pre-Test briefings.

The gathered local media in Cape Town expressed their displeasure with this turn of events.

The reasoning given for Kohli's absence was he already attended an arrival presser along with coach Ravi Shastri on December 30 at Western Province Cricket Club. Additionally, the Indian media manager also confirmed that there was no word from Cricket South Africa either that the captain should be made available for the briefing.

After waiting for just over an hour, in a bid to express their displeasure at this development, two television crews walked off while Bangar's press conference was still going on


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