Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Star batsman Virat Kohli and former southpaw Gautam Gambhir are passionate cricketers and fierce competitors. There is no doubt that the duo has elevated the game to a different level with their temperaments. However, they don’t back away from a fight on the ground. Both Kohli and Gambhir are not only involved in several face-offs between themselves, they have also several on-field spats with other opponents. They have often gone overboard with their aggression on occasions that has belittled the gentleman’s game.

Let’s have a look at some ugly spats involving Virat Kohli with opponents

Stay within limit

The incident happened during India’s tour to Australia in 2014. In MS Dhoni’s absence, Kohli was the captain of the side. When Steven Smith was batting on 18, Kohli appealed for a leg before on Rohit Sharma’s part-time off-spin. However, the umpire turned down the appeal. Subsequently, Smith said something to the bowler which didn’t go down too well with Kohli who was fielding at first slip. Promptly, he asked Smith to stay within his limit. The tension continued for quite a long time even after the intervention of both the umpires and Smith’s partner David Warner.

Rebel against Rubel

Playing in his first World Cup in 2011, Virat Kohli scored a century against Bangladesh. During his innings, Kohli defended a ball back to Rubel Hossain, who gathered the ball in his follow-through and stared at Kohli. Kohli retaliated with a mouthful, dishing out the choicest of expletives. 

Friend turned foe

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir have played Ranji Trophy together for Delhi and forged a number of good partnerships. They also shared the Indian dressing room together. However, an ugly spat between both the cricketers after an IPL 2013 encounter between the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) left a bad taste in the fans’ mouths. Both the cricketers hurled abuses while charging towards each other after Kohli’s dismissal. The incident happened during the 10th over of RCB innings after Kohli was caught off Lakshmipathy Balaji for 35. Eventually, KKR all-rounder Rajat Bhatia came in between and calmed them down. 

Heated exchange with Johnson

Virat Kohli and Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson had a history of heated exchanges between them. In one of the Tests with Australia in 2024, Kohli was in red-hot form. When he was batting on 84, Johnson collected a defence in his follow-through and hurled the ball back at Kohli, which hit him on the leg. Later, Kohli hit a streaky four through the slip cordon. Subsequently, the Australian speedster got riled-up and said something to the batsman. Kohli retaliated and another exchange followed. While Johnson went back to his fielding place, Kohli still hadn’t cooled down. He was even seen having a heated chat with the umpires.

Face-off with Australian fielders

In the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2012, Virat Kohli played a sensational knock and scored a ton. He almost ran himself out on 99 in search of the landmark single. The mix-up was followed by a throw that just missed his target. Subsequently, a flustered Kohli was seen having heated exchanges with the fielders. Ricky Ponting had to intervene and calm Kohli down. But, Kohli pointed his bat at the fielders and kept exchanging remarks. He went on to score the century and vented out his anger in his celebration after completing the century.

Gautam Gambhir’s involvement in altercations

Heated argument with Afridi

The ugly incident happened during an ODI match between India and Pakistan in Kanpur in 2007.  After hitting Shahid Afridi for a four, Gambhir ran a single in the next delivery and the duo collided in the process. What followed was a heated argument between both of them. Gambhir was found guilty of the offence of inappropriate and deliberate physical contact and disrepute charge.

Altercation with Watson

During the first day of the Delhi Test against Australia in 2008, Gambhir elbowed Shane Watson while taking a second run. Both the players had verbal clashes earlier in the day. After Watson went overboard with his sledging, Gambhir decided to take matters into his own hands. Gambhir was banned for one Test with a Level 2 offence for not conducting play within the spirit of the game as well as within the laws of cricket.

Confrontation with Akmal

The ugly incident happened during the 2020 Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan at the Dambulla International Stadium in Sri Lanka. While batting, Gambhir missed a delivery from spinner Saeed Ajmal by a mile. Wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal went up immediately claiming a caught behind. However, the umpire turned it down immediately. Gambhir was clearly not amused with the appeal. He walked straight up to Akmal during the drinks break and confronted him about the appeal. Subsequently, an ugly spat followed. MS Dhoni and the on-field umpires intervened to calm them down.

Shameful incident with Shardul

There was an engrossing battle between pacer Shardul Thakur and Gambhir in a 2014 Ranji encounter between Delhi and Mumbai. Thakur was the in-form bowler then. While chasing 441, Delhi decided to attack him. Led by their skipper Gambhir, Delhi succeeded in removing Shardul from the attack after scoring few boundaries. However, the speedster returned and trapped Gambhir for 34. Following which Shardul unnecessarily directed some verbal expletives to the departing batter. Angered by the comments, Gambhir turned towards the bowler with a raised bat. 

Tirade with Tiwari

Team India discards Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary were involved in an ugly spat during the Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Bengal at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in 2025. Both of them had an on-field altercation and they nearly came to blows. The incident happened when Tiwari came in to bat without a helmet. But seeing a pacer operating from the other end he signalled at the dressing room to get him a helmet. Delhi players felt that it was a deliberate time-wasting tactic. Subsequently, it led to the ugly spat between Gambhir and Tiwary. Umpire K Srinath tried to diffuse the situation. However, Gambhir pushed the umpire away which resulted in docking of his match fees by 50%.