Sri Lankan batter Kusal Mendis clarified his comment on not congratulating Virat Kohli on scoring his 49th century in the One-Day Internationals during the ICC ODI World Cup 2023. He expressed that he had to cope with a lot of abuse following his statement, and feels he was wrong to react in that way.
Virat Kohli slammed his 49th ODI century in the World Cup match against Sri Lanka and equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record for Most ODI Hundreds. During a press conference, Sri Lankan skipper Kusal Mendis was asked a question about congratulating the Indian batter. He responded,
“Why would I congratulate him?”
Kusal Mendis was criticised and abused on social media following his comment. He expressed, as reported by Espncricinfo,
“After that, I copped a lot of abuse. Everyone knows how good a player Virat Kohli is so, yeah, I probably should have wished him at that time.”
“That day we went first for practice, after which there was the presser. The day after was the Bangladesh game. When I went there I had no idea how much Virat Kohli had scored, all I knew was that there was a game. So when I was asked that question, I was initially confused because this was a media conference with regard to the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka game,” he added.
I was probably wrong: Kusal Mendis
Sri Lankan skipper Kusal Mendis further expressed that his comment was probably wrong. He added that scoring 49 ODI Centuries is not an easy achievement. However, he was unsure at that time of how to react to the question when it was asked by a reporter.
“But looking back I know I was probably wrong in how I reacted because scoring 49 centuries is no easy feat. As a batter, I know how difficult that is, but at that point, I wasn’t really clear on what was being asked,” said Kusal Mendis.