Sydney - Australian media labelled Indian skipper Virat
Kohli "classless" and childish on Wednesday after his provocative
comments at the end of a hard-fought but incendiary Test series.
Newspapers laid into the winning captain for saying he no
longer counted the Australian players as friends, and they also took umbrage at
India's apparent snub when invited to join the tourists for a beer.
Kohli said he would not think of the Australians as friends
"ever again" after India sealed a 2-1 victory in a pulsating series
marked by flare-ups between the world's number one and two teams.
"Virat Kohli had to shake hands and move on after
series win but he acted like a child," read a headline in Sydney's Daily
Telegraph, which also called Kohli an "egomaniac".
"Beergate: Kohli's latest classless act", another
The Australian's Peter Lalor wrote: "If there were any
doubts about the poor spirit between the Indian and Australian sides it was
confirmed after the series when the home side shunned a suggestion the two
sides drink together."
Kohli's behaviour was compared to that of his opposite
number Steve Smith, who apologised for calling Murali Vijay a "cheat"
after he claimed a catch when the ball had touched the ground.
"All Virat Kohli had to do was say sorry. Steve Smith
did," wrote Herald Sun journalist Russell Gould.
Kohli has repeatedly been a target of the Australian press
during the series, to the extent that former captain Michael Clarke warned the
criticism was "getting out of control".
Kohli initially stepped into the firing line when he accused
Smith of systematically abusing the decision review system, after the Aussie
captain admitted looking to his team dressing room when considering whether to
appeal his dismissal in Bangalore.
Smith struck a conciliatory tone at the end of the series,
revealing that he reached out to India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane with
the offer of a beer - an invitation that was declined.
"I asked if he wanted us to come in for a drink, this
being the end of the series. He said he'd get back to me. With Ajinkya, we get
on well," Smith said of his Indian Premier League (IPL) team-mate.
Despite the fireworks, and their series defeat after an
eight-wicket loss in the final Test, it was a positive tour for Australia, just
months after they suffered one of the worst runs in their history.
"The boys and the dressing room are hurting,"
Smith said in Dharamsala.
"But we have played a good style of cricket over here,
we have competed in every Test match, and for that I am really proud of the
Cricket Australia chairperson David Peever paid tribute to
Smith, who scored 499 runs as Australia flirted with their first series win in
India since 2004, highlighting the captain's "gracious" demeanour.
"Steve showed yet again what an outstanding leader he
is becoming, and his honesty and gracious comments at the end demonstrated the
qualities that Australians expect from their Test captain," Peever said.
"Cricket at this level is highly competitive, and it is
incumbent on all involved, players and administrators, to honour the protocols
and standards of behaviour that underpin the spirit of cricket," he added.