An IPL altercation could bring a bit of extra needle to India’s Cricket World Cup opener against South Africa, should captain Virat Kohli square off against Kagiso Rabada on Wednesday.
The two-time world champions battle it out against a struggling Proteas side at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, and will be hoping to start their campaign on a flyer.
Central to their chances is their skipper, who has found himself having to field questions over comments made by the speedster in a recent interview.
Kagiso Rabada recounts IPL duel with Indian skipper
Speaking to The Cricket Monthly some weeks ago, Rabada recalled a clash between his IPL franchise, the Delhi Capitals against Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
According to the 24-year-old, the Indian skipper had threw a word his direction after hitting him for a boundary.
“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. 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. 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.”
Virat Kohli coy in his response
The last big media conference ahead of India’s first run in the tournament provided the Indian captain with a chance to hit back, but his response suggested that he’d prefer that the telling blows be made with the willow, rather than the tongue.
“If there is anything for me and Rabada to discuss, we can do that man to man.”
The match between India and South Africa starts at 11:30 (SAST).