CA boss rejects Kohli's 'outrageous' allegation

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has responded to India skipper's suggestions of Australian misuse of DRS

Cricket Australia's Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland has launched a spirited defence of captain Steve Smith and his team, labelling allegations aired by India skipper Virat Kohli yesterday as "outrageous".

Update: The BCCI has now also addressed the DRS story - scroll to the bottom to read their statement 

Sutherland, who was at Bengaluru's M Chinnaswamy Stadium for the duration of the second Test which India won by 75 runs, issued a strongly worded statement in the wake of Kohli's claims.

In his post-match media conference yesterday, Kohli accused the Australians of repeatedly looking to the team dressing room for guidance on whether or not to pursue DRS procedures when out in the middle, a practice that is forbidden under Test cricket playing conditions.

I would never do that on the cricket field: Kohli

The India captain stopped short of accusing the Australians of cheating, but made it clear he believed it was unfair and claimed he had raised the matter with the on-field umpires as well as ICC match referee, Chris Broad.

The ICC is yet to confirm those details, and no further information has been provided in support of Kohli's claims that he twice saw the Australia team seeking input from the dressing room while he was batting during the Test.

Quick Single: Cheating? Kohli's press conference inference

But Sutherland has staunchly defended the integrity of Smith – who admitted he had looked in the direction of the dressing room yesterday after being given out lbw in what he described as a "brain fade" – and the Australia team who have also vehemently denied Kohli's allegations.

Smith caught up in DRS controversy

"I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous," Sutherland said from India today.

"Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions.

"We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian cricketers who are proudly representing our country."

I shouldn't have done that: Smith

Australia coach Darren Lehmann also denied Kohli's as-yet-untested claims that the Australians were systematically breaching the game's playing conditions by seeking off-field direction (where support staff have access to television replays and commentary) to inform on-field decisions.

"Never, ever, ever," was Lehmann's unequivocal response today when asked if his players made a practice of seeking off-field input for on-field decisions as Kohli alleged at the end of the second Test.

Quick Single: Lehmann strongly denies Kohli's claims

"Very surprised to hear that, but it's their opinion.

"He (Kohli) has his opinion and we have ours, but at the end of the day we play the game the right way.

"We've never done any of that, so we'll just get on with the next game."

Kohli claims go against our grain: Lehmann

Despite the highly-charged environment of the second Test, which levelled the series and guaranteed that India will finish the current 12-month period as the world's number one Test team, it's understood no charges will be laid under the game's Code of Conduct by the ICC.

Smith has acknowledged he did the wrong thing by looking towards the dressing room when he was considering whether or not to review his lbw decision at a crucial moment on the final day.

And his teammate Peter Handscomb – the non-striker who appeared to gesture towards the Australia room for advice when Smith asked his opinion on the merit or otherwise of a review – took to social media to confirm he was largely to blame for the mistake.

Which he attributed to his lack of knowledge of how the DRS protocols work, having only graduated to international ranks (where the review system is employed) in November last year.


Late on Wednesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India released its own statement throwing their strong support behind Kohli and pointing to Smith's own admission of a "brain fade" as vindication for their captain's claims.

However, the statement made no reference to Kohli's assertion that he had twice witnessed Australia engaging in the unfair practice prior to the incident involving Smith, and the fact that the India skipper had approached match officials asking them to keep an eye out for further infractions because of what had seen.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode steadfastly stands with the Indian cricket team and its captain Mr. Virat Kohli," the statement says.

"Mr. Virat Kohli is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary.

"Mr. Kohli's action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Mr. Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Mr. Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance.

"BCCI has requested the ICC to take cognizance of the fact that the Australian skipper Mr. Steve Smith in his press conference admitted to a 'brain fade' at that moment.

"BCCI sincerely hopes that the rest of the matches are played in the true spirit of cricket."

While Smith has conceded he erred by looking to the team balcony on the final afternoon, there has yet to be any official confirmation of the earlier incidents to which Kohli referred in his media conference and on which he based his assertion that the Australians were systematically looking to gain an unfair advantage.