Australia v India Tests
Friendships over after heated series: Kohli
India's injured captain says pre-existing relationships with Australians no longer exist due to acrimonious Test match battles
Having exerted negligible impact with his bat and then withdrawing from the final Test with his injured shoulder, Virat Kohli imposed himself on the series in its final act with a blistering attack on his Australia rivals.
Kohli noted prior to the opening Test at Pune that, regardless of what is said and done in the heat of battle, it is invariably forgotten when the teams vacate the combat zone.
And that a number of the players in Steve Smith's team were, and would remain, good friends in light of their shared Indian Premier League bonds and the broader fraternity of international cricket.
"I'm really good friends with all these guys off the field," Kohli said on Test eve at Pune, and before the series exploded into a regular series of accusations, slurs and ever-chilling relations.
Quick Single: Kohli's pre-series charm offensive
"I know them really well, but I know where to draw the line of friendship.
"When you step onto the field, I could be playing against my big brother it wouldn't matter."
After an ill-tempered, often spiteful four-match series against those same Australians that is no longer the case.
Kohli has declared those friendships irretrievably broken, and the relationship and trust he thought he had with the Australians has been tarnished beyond repair because of his bitter experiences.
"No, it has changed," Kohli told a post-match media conference when asked if he stood by his affirmation of friendly rivalry made earlier in the series.
"I thought that was the case, but it has changed for sure.
"As I said, in the heat of the battle you want to be competitive but I've been proven wrong.
"The thing I said before the first Test, that has certainly changed and you won't hear me say that ever again."
Kohli was India's poorest performing batter throughout the campaign, which his team claimed 2-1 after his replacement skipper Ajinkya Rahane led them to an eight-wicket win in Kohli's absence at Dharamsala.
He was also at the centre of the series' low point at Bengaluru, when his rival skipper Steve Smith breached the game's laws by looking towards the dressing room for apparent guidance when contemplating a DRS review.
Which, in turn, prompted Kohli to level accusations of systematic impropriety by the Australians regarding their use of the review protocols, in which he cited (without any subsequent evidence) two earlier examples where the same breach had taken place.
Quick Single: Kohli's heated press conference inference
Kohli was again at the centre of ill-tempered exchanges during the third Test when he injured his shoulder when diving in the field, and was forced to miss most of the Test match.
He later claimed the Australians had besmirched the name of India's team physiotherapist, Patrick Farhat, who was a long-time physio with New South Wales.
And India commentators accused the Australians of mocking Kohli's injury when Glenn Maxwell laughingly clutched his right shoulder after performing a similar fielding manoeuvre, and Kohli himself repeated the gesture to deliver a send-off to David Warner late on day four.
Quick Single: Shoulder saga takes bizarre new twist
Maxwell and Kohli had previously been good friends, with the pair getting together last year to film an exclusive 'Maxy's blog' for cricket.com.au.
What was thought to be the final flashpoint of an incendiary six-week contest came yesterday evening, when the cameras panned to Steve Smith in the Australia viewing room at a crucial moment of his team's crumbling innings.
An incident that led Smith to issue an explanation and apology in his own end-of-match media conference.
"I set myself high standards and I wanted to lead from the front with my performances," Smith said today.
"I have been very intense and in my own little bubble and at times I have let my emotions actions falter a little bit throughout this series and I apologise for that.
"That's a big stride for me moving forward and something I can really learn from and continue to grow as an individual and as a leader."
But Kohli, who has been equally competitive and even more overtly combative on and off the field, is clearly in no mood to forgive and forget.
He also took aim at the critical media coverage of his batting and his still untested accusations, claiming that the pointed commentary of his impact as a player and a leader in this series reflects more poorly on the critics than their target.
"I've heard a very wise person tell me that when a person is down, the weak come out and speak about him," Kohli said in his final media outing of the series.
"It takes courage to speak about someone when they are on top.
"It's fine, I was targeted individually and I hadn't done well in the series. So opportunities galore for everyone to come out and speak about me.
"When I've done well in the past, people have spoken about me. When I haven't done well I obviously expect them to come out and say all sorts of things.
"It's obviously very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind the (microphone).
"I think that's easier than coming out and competing on the field. That's all I have to say about that."