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Inflaming passions

Inflaming passions
Highlights

In their quest to win, despite the odds, Australian cricketers have always had the dubious distinction of being the worst exponents of the shameful act of sledging. Their notoriety is such that almost any team playing Down Under would be subject to this brazen harassment.  

In their quest to win, despite the odds, Australian cricketers have always had the dubious distinction of being the worst exponents of the shameful act of sledging. Their notoriety is such that almost any team playing Down Under would be subject to this brazen harassment.

Today, as one looks at the bad blood that is running in the ongoing series in India, it seems like sledging is passé. The new game-changing tactics (?) are not being controlled from the dressing room but by their ‘over-patriotic’ and outlandishly zealous media personnel. It is preposterous and makes a mockery of the avowed principles that govern the Gentlemen’s Game.

In a way, the manner the media has been crying foul and singling out Virat Kohli for barbed criticism is sending a message that they have joined the psychological war even as the players themselves are quite friendly with each other at the end of the day’s sessions.

Blaming a team for making judgmental errors like Kohli’s DRS faux pas early in the series is quite something but pointing an accusing finger at the home team skipper and labelling him as a villain is quite another. If anything, these veiled racist comments are deplorable and deserve condemnation by all and sundry.

In a way, such media-inspired bashing did not happen even during the unruly Monkey-gate or when Sunil Gavaskar staged a walkout that almost took bilateral relations to the very brink. The local media made adverse remarks and editorially condemned the on-field ruckus, but they were done within the realms of journalistic decency. However, what has been happening from the time Steve Smith and his boys stepped on to Indian shores is despicable because there is no reason to blame Kohli for the pitch conditions.

Australian media, at least the cricket correspondents, has turned racist by nature. By likening Kohli to Donald Trump, they have, unwittingly or otherwise, exposed their near-zero knowledge about worldly affairs. Amitabh Bachchan is bang on, while thanking the Australian media for accepting that Kohli, like the US President, is a winner.

The trigger-happy media scribes ought to take cue from former captain Michael Clarke, who has ridiculed the tirade against Kohli. By stating that a mere two or three reporters were trying to tarnish Virat, Clarke has made it clear that the Indian skipper is a big hit with the Australian fans, who would give a damn to media accusations against Kohli. Indeed, as Clarke points out, even Smith would have reacted the way his Indian counterpart did, had he been a victim of a media-inspired war of words.

It is rather unfortunate that at a time when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) have collaborated on mutual development programmes at National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, their media is trying to rub salt into the wounds with their anti-Kohli rhetoric. This is something not witnessed even at the height of the Cold War nor during the infamous Bodyline series. Perhaps, Gavaskar is right –Australian correspondents are behaving like support staff of the team management.

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