Virat Kohli is known to never back down on the cricket field. The India captain has had several run-ins with opponents over the years, with one of the most popular ones being his clash with West Indies bowler Kesrick Williams.
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In a T20 International between India and West Indies in December 2019, Kohli hit Williams for a majestic six and followed that up with an interesting celebration, where he pretended to remove a notebook from his pocket and started making imaginary tick marks on it.
After that match, Kohli said that his celebration was a response to something similar Williams had done after dismissing him in a One-Day International between the two teams in 2017.
“It happened to me in Jamaica when he [Williams] got me out,” Kohli had said after that match. “So I thought I’ll tick a few in the notebook as well, but all good. There were a few words, but smiles at the end.”
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Williams has now said that his equation with Kohli wasn’t too friendly even after that match. In an interview with International Cricket Network 360, the right-arm medium-pacer said he had an unpleasant interaction with Kohli after the game.
“Virat Kohli is the first person I did that notebook celebration on in Jamaica,” said Williams. “When I did the notebook celebration, I did it because I liked it and I did it for my fans. But Kohli didn’t see it that way. After the game finished, I went to shake his hands, Kohli said good bowling but the celebration was meh [with a disapproving gesture] and walked off.”
In that T20I in Hyderabad, Kohli was at his best as he scored a match-winning 94 not out of just 50 deliveries. Williams said that the India captain had a few words to say to him even before he started his innings.
“As soon as Mr Virat Kohli walked into bat, he walks straight at me and says, ‘the notebook celebration thing is not going to work here tonight. I’m going to make sure it won’t work’,” said Williams.
“Seriously! The episode is back from 2017. Every ball I bowled he said something but I simply responded with ‘mate, just shut up and bat. Really, you sound like a child’. But all he heard was ‘can you just bat and shut up’. The part about child and whatever he didn’t hear because I was walking back. That’s all I said but he kept talking. In the match he beat me really bad, I got confused, because he got into my head honestly and I kept thinking its alright, he got into my head and that’s why he beat me badly.”
The clash between the two made headlines and Williams said that motivated him to give his best in the next match.
“Next day, I’m all over India newspapers, I’m being honest I felt bad. But I like a challenge, I love a challenge and I love fame. So at that moment I told myself ‘Kohli you’re the best player in the world but you’ve just met the most determined player of the world. Who doesn’t give up, who doesn’t say no and who always grind to come up on top. That’s the player you’ve met’. And when things get bad, that’s when I shine,” said the 30-year-old.
In the second T20I of that series, Williams got Kohli’s wicket cheaply and celebrated by putting a finger to his lips.
“In the match, Kohli is getting ready to bat, sitting outside the boundary. I was fielding at fine-leg, every time I look at him, he’s shaking his head. In my mind I kept thinking, I want you to bat, hurry up and come,” Williams said.