The Steve Smith-Virat Kohli feud has taken a bizarre twist with India physiotherapist Patrick Farhart at the centre of the latest episode.
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Farhart was in close contact with Kohli during the third Test after the Indian injured his shoulder diving to stop a boundary on day one, which saw him off the field for the remaining 89 overs of Australia’s first innings.
When scans revealed no serious damage, Kohli was strapped up and batted at No.4 but was out for just six, caught at second slip by Smith, who was wrongly portrayed to be mocking the dismissed batsman by grabbing his own shoulder.
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Smith told reporters after play on day five that he was disappointed by the television broadcast before denying claims he disrespected Farhart out in the middle.
"Virat was actually having a go at me out in the middle, saying how I was disrespecting Patrick Farhart where I was the exact opposite, if I was to do anything," Smith said.
"I think (Farhart) did a pretty terrific job to be able to get Virat back out on the field after that shoulder injury.
"I think he’s a terrific physio and he does a great job for them."
It’s difficult to see why Smith and the Australians would disrespect Farhart, who worked alongside a number of the Test XI in his 19 years as Cricket New South Wales’ physiotherapist.
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Kohli too was unsure why the tourists brought up the hosts’ physio when asked about it after play.
"These things happen on the field. They, four or five of them, started taking Patrick's name," Kohli said.
"I don't know why. He's our physio. His job is to treat me. I don't find the reason behind it.
"I could not understand. You must ask him why they have started taking his name."
Farhart has been with India since 2015, replacing Nitin Patel who held the position from India’s 2007 tour of England.
Smith and Kohli have been at each other since the second Test in Bengaluru when they clashed mid-pitch before the Australian’s "brain fade" involving the DRS.
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Despite the heated conflict on the field, Smith believes both sides haven’t stepped out of line.
"There’s always a bit of tension when you’re playing Australia-India in Test matches,” he said.
"As far I’m concerned it’s being played in the right spirit out on the field and it’s a hard and tough grind.
"That’s how I would explain it and no issues with that."
The two teams will lock horns again in the fourth Test in Dharamsala starting Saturday with the series all-square at 1-all after Australia escaped Ranchi with a gritty draw.