RANCHI : When India and Australia met Down Under in 2014-15, Ian Chappell wrote in a column why it was necessary for the ICC to ban sledging. His logic was, one day it might lead to altercations on the field, particularly when things get too personal. With the teams battling yet again for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the situation hasn’t changed.
Following the Bengaluru controversy, the time was perhaps right for the ICC to step in. When Virat Kohli made allegations without evidence, it chose to stay mum and said the umpires did not report anything. About Steve Smith seeking dressing room help for DRS too, it said no report had been filed. The BCCI and Cricket Australia called for truce and all, it seemed, was good.
Three days into the third Test, it is time to ask, “have the teams moved on?” When Australia opted for DRS against Cheteshwar Pujara and lost their review, Kohli was seen coming out of the dressing room and clapping in delight.
Stakes being high, small things like DRS matter and perhaps Kohli was merely expressing happiness. But the Aussie media asked bowling coach David Saker about the incident.
“I know Kohli came out and clapped. I don’t know if it was directed at anyone but that’s the way he’s been playing this series. It’s a really cut-throat series for everyone and it’s first versus second.
There’s a lot of pressure on him at the moment. There’s pressure on everyone. I think when you lose your two reviews, it’s a bit of a relief to the opposition and Kohli probably showed that,” Saker said.
It didn’t end there. After Kohli was dismissed, Glenn Maxwell was seen holding his right shoulder in a manner to suggest he was hurt. It looked like an attempt to mock Kohli's reaction on the opening day, after he injured his shoulder and the umpires soon had a word with Smith. It is understood that it hasn’t gone well with the Indian camp.
“A lot of things are happening, but to be honest, we're focussed on the game. These are the things running in our heads, in the dressing room. All the players are aware of it.
Whatever they're doing, we take it as sporting. There's going to be a second innings. If they can take it that way, it'll be great,” Murali Vijay said.
Adding spice to drama was the broadcaster. There were visuals of Smith too mocking Kohli’s injury, but on further notice it emerged that it was Peter Handscomb holding his captain’s left-shoulder and not Smith. Why the broadcaster did that is anybody’s guess!
The two captains were supposed to meet match referee Richie Richardson together. Apparently, that didn’t happen as the two met him individually.