Earlier, cricket was considered a gentleman’s game. However, over the years, many changes have been made in the way the game is played. With the introduction of the T20 format, the pace of the game has changed and more young players have emerged on the circuit to meet the pace of this brand of cricket. The aggression needed for this shortest format of the game has also been carried into Test and one-day cricket. This may be a reason why Indian captain Virat Kohli and his Aussie counterpart Tim Paine had an on-field face-off on the fourth day of the second test match between India and Australia at Perth and the umpire had to pacify both. Team India went on to lose the game by over a hundred runs. Meanwhile, Virat’s action came in for criticism from noted actor Naseeruddin Shah who called the Indian skipper “the worst behaved cricketer of the world.” Orissa POST spoke to some cricket enthusiasts of the city to know their views about the controversy.
Chakradhara Patra, associate professor, Seed Technology, SoA University and a drama director, said, “This is not the first time Virat has been accused of poor conduct on the field. His remarks on Twitter asking a follower to leave India if he doesn’t like any Indian batsmen had also triggered a row. That might have been his way of displaying nationalism. But he needs to be careful while he is on the field. Legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman all represented the country but played the game in the right spirit. Even as it is believed that aggression brings out the best in Virat, he shouldn’t forget that he is a role model for thousands of youths. But I feel Naseer’s comment that the Indian skipper is the worst behaved cricketer of the world is a little harsh and I would give the benefit of doubt to Virat as he is the person who knows his game better than anyone else.”
Youth development expert of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) Bhubaneswar and PhD scholar Ashok Kumar preferred to back the actor. “I can feel the anger of Naseeruddin Shah. It is absolutely unbecoming of an Indian skipper to behave in this fashion on a cricket field. The result of the second test match shows that his unnecessary aggression is of no use unless it helps motivates the other members of the team. Even as he has been performing consistently, on-field behaviour is where he often slips. Fans compare him to Sachin Tendulkar, but the latter has proved time and again that cricket can be a gentleman’s sport. Virat should learn a thing or two from the maestro,” said Behera.
However, some cricket fans see nothing wrong in Virat’s aggressive body language. Gita Mansingh, a beautician of the city, says Australia is known for their poor behaviour on the field and therefore Virat is justified in his behaviour.
“Aussies are notorious for sledging. Earlier, we Indians were no match for them. However, times have changed. Everyone knows that Virat is an aggressive player and his aggression is often visible when he bats. Whether the team has won the match or not is not an issue. All cricket playing nations are adopting good and aggressive cricket. So, there is nothing wrong if the Indian captain showed a bit of emotion in the match,” she said.
BIJAY MANDAL, OP