Is Indian captain Virat Kohli the most ill-mannered cricketer in the world today?
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah thinks so, going by his tweet. The sledging incident between the India’s captain and his counterpart Tim Paine during the recently concluded second Test at Perth has thrown open that debate too.
There is no doubt that Kohli is the best batsman in the world. But to name him as the worst behaved would be going too far.
Such comments usually come from countries which have got away with sheer murder in the past and are now trying to portray the “holier than thou” attitude.
Teams like England and Australia are the worst behaved among the lot. Their Press too just looks to demean players with sensationalism and fake news.
The Indians have been treated harshly in the past because they were quite docile and well-mannered then. The spirit of the game was always maintained. But as time went by the younger generation not only improved India’s position in world cricket but also began to deliver on the results front.
They let their aggression take over and gave it back as good as it gets to the Big Teams.
Gone were the “well played” era and a new one ushered where personal comments and racists barbs were not tolerated.
Indian cricketers knew that were good and they did not cower to the constant chatter, particularly from the Australians.
The Aussies and Englishmen did not like it. They blew up minor incidents and constantly groaned about the umpiring, hotel conditions or the weather.
The whole attitude of the Australian team came to the fore recently in a damning report which shocked the cricketing world. Planning to usher in a new era, Paine promised to improve their attitude. But Paine himself got involved in the incident.
Old habits die hard. And there are psychologists helping the teams to wage a mental battle too.
With Kohli’s aggression a natural target, the Australians began to pick on Kohli’s game and how arrogant he was. There were stories about how badly he behaved because he was the best player in world and that no Australian will play with someone like him.
The face-off with Paine gave more grist to the mill and Kohli has become a “Horrid Personality”.
As far as Indians are concerned Kohli is the same person they knew for many years. By drawing attention to these so called “incidents”, the Aussies are playing games with the Indians.
To add fuel to the fire, former Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds has raked the “Monkeygate” incident once again, portraying Harbhajan Singh as meekly apologising for it.
Harbhajan has denied this. It all goes to show that the Australians really want to rattle the Indian team by targeting them and the captain on all fronts. Unfortunately, many of India’s Press prefer butter to boldness, are falling into the trap by berating Kohli too.
The Ravindra Jadeja-Ishant Sharma spat was played up to put a wedge on team spirit. Everybody knows that cricketers do fight and there was no need to attach undue importance to the incident.
Increasing the volume of the stump microphone was plain dirty.
It must be remembered that the Australians players and fans are among the most ill-behaved in the world. They are cheeky and racist.
The Indians must support Kohli. He lets his bat do the talking as he indicated when he reached his hundred at Perth.
If the Australians think they are smarter in their gamesmanship, then Kohli knows about that too.
#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.