Virat Kohli has been known for his never back down attitude, whether it comes to scoring runs or replying back to an aggressive send off. And among the many run-ins that the Indian skipper has had over his career, the most memorable one of late was his tussle with West Indies cricketer Kesrick Williams.
In December 2019, during a T20I clash between the two nations in India, Kohli had struck Williams for a six and immediately did the notebook celebration which he later revealed was in response to the same which the Windies bowler had done after dismissing him in an ODI match back 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.”
Recalling the 2017 clash, Williams, in an interview with International Cricket Network 360, said that his meeting with the Indian skipper was rather unpleasant after the match.
“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.”
When Williams visited India for the T20I series, Kohli had a few words for him ahead of the Hyderabad game where the 31-year-old had scored 94 off 50.
“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.”
Williams admitted that the clash had motivated him for the next game.
“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.
Williams had managed to get the better of the Indian captain in the second T20I but this time he went in with a finger-on-your-lips celebration.
“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.