Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team were left fuming over the reversal of the DRS call against Dean Elgar on day 3 of the Cape Town Test against South Africa but their behavior has come under question.
The India vs South Africa Test on day 3 in Cape Town witnessed a massive moment of controversy. In the 21st over of the South Africa chase, Dean Elgar played down the wrong line against R Ashwin and was hit on the pads. India immediately went for the appeal and they were confident that Elgar was a goner. But, to their shock and horror, they saw the ball-tracking was showing it going over the stumps. Elgar survived and the entire Indian team was shocked. Even umpire Marais Erasmus, who had given him out, was in shock and murmured, “That is not possible.”
What followed afterward was probably not in the Spirit of the Game. R Ashwin was caught on stump mic stating, “You should surely find better ways to win Supersport.” The host broadcaster was in charge of the ball-tracking technology and the accusations flew. Virat Kohli brazenly stated, “Focus on your team as well when they shine the ball. Not just the opposition, trying to catch people all the time. Well done DRS! Certainly conducting a fair game here DRS.” KL Rahul added fuel to the fire by stating, “Whole country playing against XI guys.”
The whole moment reeked of convenience. If the technology suits their benefits, it is a gift of god. But, if it goes against them, they are quick to dismiss it as a conspiracy.
The Indian cricket team and the fans have conveniently forgotten how this same ‘mistake’ aided them in 2011. Saeed Ajmal was bowling to Sachin Tendulkar in Mohali. Simon Taufel, one of the best umpires at that time, had an impeccable record of making the right decisions. Ajmal trapped Tendulkar LBW and to the naked eye, it looked plumb. But, ball-tracking showed the ball to be missing the stumps. The angle with which the ball spun stunned everybody.
Umpire Taufel was forced to change his decision. The decision hurt Pakistan in a big way. Tendulkar went on to make 85. An additional 30-40 runs were gifted to India thanks to the DRS. But, every Indian fan on social media and cricket forums is stating that Ajmal and the Pakistan cricket team should stop crying about it as it has been 10 years. But, what are the current Indian fans doing? Are they not crying over the situation over Elgar?
Ever since the DRS was introduced, BCCI has been vehemently against it as they did not trust most of the technologies. Ball-tracking and Hotspot were two areas of concern. Hotspot is gone. But, ball-tracking remains. If Pakistan were forced to accept it in 2011, then India has to accept it in 2022. The rules do not change.
No technology in the world can be 100 percent. People who operate the technology are also humans and judgment comes into the picture. Ball-tracking is calculated by the mathematical path a ball is supposed to take. Those mathematical figures are worked upon by people who know the use of the technology.
But, accusations by Kohli and the team of indirectly ‘cheating’ is brazen. If one decision goes against them, they cannot paint a conspiracy theory every single time. Sydney and Monkeygate 2008 never happen every year. The mistakes made in Sydney should have forced the BCCI and India to be more aggressive to get in these technologies. But, they resisted for three years. But, they can conveniently sing Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire.’ Why? Because of the BCCI’s omnipresent financial clout in the game.
Accusing the host broadcasters of ‘indirectly cheating’ and then playing the victim card goes totally against the spirit. This is minus the myopic view that the Australian and England teams have over the Spirit of the Game.
Agreed, a series is there to be won. Sure, India desperately wants to conquer the final frontier in South Africa. But, going to those lengths on day 3 makes any situation ugly. Kohli and the Indian cricket team will still get away scotfree because the ICC is too pussy-footed to bell the giant cat.
Since Kohli and the Indian cricket team were caught on stump mic, there can be no escaping the fact that they said this. Instead of addressing the issue, the mob calls will be to silent the stump mics. This has been a demand in the past. Already in this Test, Elgar and Kohli were involved in a heated confrontation. Rassie van der Dussen and Rishabh Pant were also involved in an ugly slugfest caught on stump mic.
But, media outlets and fans will paint this as classy and cool. In reality, it is not. A game is meant to be played in the right way. The Australian way of mental disintegration is now frowned upon. Any kind of aggression nowadays boomerangs in a massive way. India might still win in Cape Town. But, the behavior has been ugly. There can be no two ways about it. The accusations that flew on Thursday evening cannot be taken lightly.