The Virat Kohli-Steve Smith saga doesn’t look like ending anytime soon as, after the players, even the coach Darren Lehmann and the CEO of Cricket Australia James Sutherland also jumped into the controversy uttering strong words against the Indian captain. James Sutherland said, “we reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used.” Integrity! That was the term used by the boss of a team that has managed to make a name for itself as world’s most aggressive side by sledging the opposition players. Sledging, which in normal terms means, ‘make taunting or teasing remarks to (an opposing player, especially a batsman) in order to disturb their concentration’ but in Australian dictionary means ‘criticise or insult in a mocking way.’
Watch the under-arm incident here:
Australia’s 119-Test-old veteran Ian Healy who has been involved in many such instances of sledging himself said, “I’m losing respect for him. He’s got to be a lot more respectful of his opponents. The stuff he did with Steve Smith was unacceptable.” Really? An Aussie begging for respect from his opponent while his own side has been alleged of making racial comments, cheating on the field and even abusing other players! Well, that’s strange.
Anyways coming back to the integrity Sutherland was talking about, everytime someone talks about the most disgraceful incident that happened on a cricket field, the first act that comes to a fan’s mind is the ‘underarm incident’ of 1981. Back then, in the third final of the World Series Cup, New Zealand needed 7 runs off the last ball and the then Australian ‘CAPTAIN’, Greg Chappell asked his brother Trevor to ball an underarm delivery which no batsman or superhero in the world including Australia’s own Hugh Jackman who plays Wolverine on screen and claims to be a big cricket fan, can hit for a six. That wasn’t against the integrity of the Australian team but Virat Kohli’s harsh yet honest words are!
Watch Dennis Lillie kicking Javed Miandad:
Moving on, in the same year Australia was involved in another disgraceful act when the fast bowler Dennis Lillie clashed with Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad on the field. Lillie kicked Miandad’s flush on his thigh and in response, Miandad raised his bat to strike the Aussie fast bowler. In 2008, Australian players claimed false catches in a Test series against India. Later in the same tour, former Australian captain Michael Clarke intentionally collided with Sachin Tendulkar in an ODI game.
Watch Michael Clarke holding Sachin Tendulkar and bringing him down:
Let us just forget all these incidents for a moment and focus on the current series. Mitchell Starc after bowling a short-pitch delivery to Abhinav Mukund in the 2nd Test pointed at his head. Now, Mr Sutherland, can you explain what that was? To earn respect, you have to show some respect and to save your integrity, you have to play within the certain boundaries of the game. Yes, Steve Smith is your captain, undoubtedly your best batsman too but what he did was wrong. Instead of supporting him, you should come out and reprimand him. And, maybe then, you won’t have to worry about the integrity of Australian cricket.