‘It was absolutely wrong…’: Kusal Mendis clarifies amid furore over ‘refusal’ to laud Virat Kohli’s 49th ODI century

Indian cricket legend Virat Kohli smashed his record-equaling 49th century in ODIs, leveling ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar for the iconic milestone while playing against South Africa in the 2023 World Cup.

Though the entire cricketing community applauded Kohli, Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis when asked if he would like to pass on his tribute to the Indian batter, had replied, “Why I would congratulate him?”

After a dismal performance in the World Cup, the Sri Lankan returned home. In 9 league matches, Sri Lanka won only 2 matches. After landing in the home town, Mendis opened up on his response over Kohli’s century and said he was ‘wrong’ in his response.

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“On that day I went to the press conference and I was not aware that Virat had scored a century, When suddenly that journalist asked that question, I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t understand the question clearly. Scoring 49 ODI tons is not an easy job to do, Virat is one of the most brilliant cricketers in the world, I realized what I said was absolutely wrong,” he said, as quoted by Sri Lanka’s Asian Mirror.

Recognizing the need for a more composed response, Mendis said, “I now feel I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.”

Kohli’s on equaling Sachin:

Kohli had said he felt ‘honoured’ to equal “hero” Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 one-day international hundreds.

“Tendulkar’s tweet is quite special,” Kohli had said. “It’s all too much to take in for now. It’s a huge honour to equal my hero’s record. He’s perfection with the bat. It’s an emotional moment. I know the days I come from, I know the days I have watched him on TV. To receive appreciation from him means a lot to me.”

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Updated: 12 Nov 2023, 05:41 PM IST

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