Former Australia all-rounder Brad Hodge apologised for his comments that India captain Virat Kohli pulled out of the series-deciding Dharamsala Test to save his Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign.
Kohli had pulled out of the fourth Test due to a shoulder injury and Ajinkya Rahane led India to an eight-wicket win, helping the hosts seal a 2-1 series win.
"You'd hope as a sportsman that he's seriously injured. Because if you miss one game of Test match cricket and you're fronting up the next week for RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) versus whoever... You'd be pretty dirty if he didn't front up to a Test match and try and win a valuable series against Australia," Hodge had said.
Hodge's comments were criticised and it appears he feared that his own IPL stint as Gujarat Lions coach could be in jeopardy.
Rattled by the backlash, he issued an apology on his Twitter page.
"I take this opportunity to apologise to the people of India, cricket fans, the Indian national cricket team and particularly Virat Kohli for my previous comments," Hodge's apology read.
"My intention was never to harm, criticise or be derogatory toward anyone. They were intended to be light-hearted comments with the utmost respect to the Indian Premier League which I have thoroughly enjoyed through the years. The public and fans have every right to be upset, and the backlash I have received has certainly driven this home.
"...I am deeply apologetic to the country which has bought me so much joy, and its inspirational leader in Virat Kohli, to whom I mean no ill-intention & respect highly as a professional," he concluded.
However, buttressing his views in general on players trying to keep themselves fit for IPL, Hodge said, "It's happened before. Not just Virat but there's many players that have come up to IPL time and ... Look, we know it's a cash-rich tournament, there's some money up for grabs. There are certain players that will limp in, to IPL time, to make sure they get there and perform well."
— Brad Hodge (@bradhodge007) March 29, 2017
Allegations and counter-allegations have flown thick and fast in the recently concluded India-Australia series.
Australia captain Steve Smith had also apologised at the end of the series for letting his emotions get the better of him during the fourth Test of the bitterly-fought rubber.