By CricketCountry Staff
Indian star Virat Kohli was ordered to “respect the dignity” of the team Thursday after he became involved in an unseemly row with a journalist tracking the defending champions’ ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign. Kohli, angry at coverage of his private life in the Indian media, was accused of verbally abusing a reporter he mistakenly thought was the writer for another newspaper.

The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon at the Murdoch Oval in Perth where India were training ahead of their Pool B match against the West Indies at the city’s WACA ground on Friday. As soon as he wrapped up his net session, Kohli stormed to the sidelines and let off a volley of expletives at a horrified Indian reporter, eyewitnesses said. The visibly shaken journalist wondered why Kohli had pounced on him without any possible provocation — until it was found to be a case of mistaken identity.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken note of the incident that occurred at Perth a couple of days ago,” said BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur. The BCCI has been in touch with the Indian team management on this issue, and has advised that this kind of incident should not be repeated. The BCCI respects the role played by the media in covering and popularizing the game of cricket, and acknowledges the support of the media, in its mission to administer and promote the game of cricket in India. The player in question has been told to maintain the dignity of the Indian team at all times, and avoid any such behavior in the future.”

It’s understood that Kohli had actually planned to target a reporter from another Indian newspaper apparently for writing about his personal life. Realizing his mistake, Kohli offered his apologies through an intermediary, also a reporter. He told the intermediary to inform Kohli that such behavior was not expected from an international sportsman even if it was not directed at him. “Go and tell him that he is an international player and he should learn how to behave,” the journalist said. “How can he abuse and intimidate someone? I would like to add that Kohli did not apologize to me directly.”

Sources said the temperamental Kohli, next in line for the India captaincy after Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had been spoken to and told to ensure such incidents were not repeated. The bust-up added to an already fragile relationship between the traveling journalists and the team, which has avoided all media contact outside the mandatory press conferences before and after a match. Defending champions India have had a good start in the tournament, winning all their three matches against old foes Pakistan, mighty South Africa and minnows United Arab Emirates.

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