India’s Australian physio Patrick Farhart is in the middle of the latest ruckus between captains Virat Kohli and Steve Smith which erupted in Ranchi after the third Test.
Smith and Kohli publicly swapped pleasantries prior to the start of the four-Test series between Australia and India but there has been almost non-stop niggle on and off the field during the past three weeks between two leaders who have a history of run-ins.
The latest twist in the rivalry relates to Kohli’s shoulder injury. Smith took exception to an atypical taunt from his counterpart on day five.
“Virat was having a go at me out in the middle and saying how I was disrespecting Patrick Farhat, when actually it was the exact opposite,” Smith said.
“I am a bit disappointed, I didn’t actually do anything.
“He’s a terrific physio and does a great job for their team. He did a pretty terrific job to get Virat back on the field after that shoulder injury.”
Farhart, who worked tirelessly on Kohli’s shoulder after he strained it on day one, remains friends with many members of Australia’s Test side. He was the team physio of NSW and Sydney Sixers prior to joining India.
“(Farhat worked for) 19 years at NSW. I doubt we’d disrespect Patty at all,” Australia vice-captain David Warner said.
Kohli was forthright after Smith’s illegal glance to the stands in Bangalore, accusing Australia of systematically cheating in the game by seeking external advice regarding reviews.
In Ranchi, the firebrand offered a more obtuse allegation after play.
“These things happen on the field. They, four or five of them, they started taking Patrick’s name,” Kohli said.
“I don’t know why. He’s our physio. His job is to treat me. I didn’t find the reason behind it. I couldn’t understand.
“You must ask him why they started taking his name, no idea.”
Footage emerged on day three of Smith seemingly giving Kohli a send-off by grabbing his shoulder, having just taken the slips catch to dismiss the out-of-form batsman.
Another angle confirmed it was an illusion; it was a teammate’s celebratory hand on Smith’s shoulder.
However, Glenn Maxwell did grab his shoulder on day three after diving to stop a boundary in a near-identical replay of the incident that forced Kohli off the field.
A fired-up Kohli, who has managed just 46 runs at 9.2 in this series, responded by grabbing his shoulder while wildly celebrating the wicket of David Warner late on day four.
Kohli refused to answer a question regarding his send-off of Warner.
The series remains level at 1-1 after the drawn third Test, with the decider to start in Dharamsala on Saturday.