Sydney - Former Australian international Brad Hodge on Thursday
apologised over suggestions firebrand Indian captain Virat Kohli pulled out of
a Test match to save himself for the Indian Premier League.
Hodge came under fire on the subcontinent for his conjecture
about Kohli's injury-enforced withdrawal from the deciding fourth Test against
Australia, which ended on Tuesday.
"You'd hope as a sportsman that he's seriously
injured," he told Fox Sports on Sunday.
"Because if you miss one game of Test match cricket and
you're fronting up the next week for RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) versus
whoever... you'd be pretty dirty if he didn't front up to a Test match and try
and win a valuable series against Australia."
Hodge is due to coach the Gujarat Lions in the IPL, starting
April 5, and has been rattled by the backlash, issuing a long apology.
"I take this opportunity to apologise to the people of
India, cricket fans, the Indian national cricket team and particularly Virat
Kohli for my previous comments," he posted to Twitter.
"My intention was never to harm, criticise or be
derogatory toward anyone. They were intended to be light-hearted comments with
the utmost respect to the Indian Premier League which I have thoroughly enjoyed
through the years.
"The public and fans have every right to be upset, and
the backlash I have received has certainly driven this home."
He said that he respected Kohli and meant no "ill
Kohli, captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, hurt his
right shoulder while diving to stop a boundary during the drawn third Test
against Australia in Ranchi.
He sat out the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala which
India won by eight wickets to seal the series 2-1.
The 28-year-old said this week his shoulder was taking time
to heal because it was not a simple stress injury but an impact injury.
Australia's Glenn Maxwell was also at the centre of
controversy over Kohli's injury when he grabbed his shoulder in parody and
grinned at his team-mates after making a similar stop later in the third Test.