ICC World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli reacts to Kagiso Rabada’s ‘immature’ remark ahead of opener

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli reacted to Kagiso Rabada’s comment that he cannot take abuse and said that ‘if there is anything that needs to be discussed, we can discuss it man-to-man’.

At the pre-match press conference ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 clash between India and South Africa, Kohli made it clear that he does not want to use the presser in order to send any message to Rabada.

“What did Rabada say? I have no idea. I’ve played against Kagiso many times and if there is anything that needs to be discussed, we can discuss it man-to-man. I am not using a press conference to answer anything,” he said.

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Earlier, Rabada had labelled Kohli as immature and said Kohli likes to play aggressive on the field but when he had some words for the India skipper during the IPL, he didn’t like it.

“I was just thinking about the game plan, really, but Virat, he hit me for a boundary and then he had a word. And then when you give it back to him, he gets angry. I don’t get the guy,” Rabada told ESPNCricinfo.

“Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player but he can’t take the abuse. But those things can’t distract you,” he added.

“In fact, for me it just wakes me up, if anything. If somebody comes at me and says, “I’m going to hit you. I’m going to clobber you. You are soft”, it wakes me up because – it’s a fight-or-flight response.”

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South Africa, who lost to England and Bangladesh, are looking for their first win of the tournament on Wednesday against India who are ranked second in the world. India, on the other hand, will be playing their first game.

South Africa will be without the services of Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn due to injuries but Kohli believes that irrespective of their presence, Rabada will always remain a threat for them.

“Whether Ngidi plays or Steyn plays or not, Rabada would always be a threat, irrespective of any side he plays against. We’ve played well against him in the past, and we are respectful of his skills. Bowlers like Rabada can turn up on their day can bowl outstandingly well. You have to be respectful but have self-belief and the balance would be crucial. We have to find ways of scoring against him,” the Indian cricket team skipper told the media.

First Published:
Jun 04, 2019 20:27 IST

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