Australia’s tour to India is finally over. It was one heck of a ride of over a month that had everything one could expect from the battle between the top two sides of the world. India prevailed in the final Test in Dharamsala and won the series 2-1 and reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy after four years.
It was a series that had its fair share of controversies and Indian skipper Virat Kohli was quite vocal about Australia’s behaviour on the tour. When asked about his friendship with the team from down under after the last match, he clearly stated there is none of that left now.
“No, it has changed for sure. I thought that was the case but it has changed for sure. As I said in the heat of the battle, you want to be competitive but yeah I have been proven wrong.”
For an international captain, it was a huge comment to make publically. Some might say he is frustrated due to his own poor performances in the series but if we take a look at what the Australians did on the tour, he is nothing but right.
Even before the start of the tour, the Australians targetted him and a majority of their media was trying to mock him. Why would they do that even before the first ball was bowled? It’s because they knew the impact of the modern master and his aggressive persona on Indian cricket team. They attempted to shift his attention away from the game and provoke him.
The focus was totally on wearing him down. At one stage, when they had won the first Test in Pune and dominated the first three days in Bangalore, it seemed as if they had succeeded in getting to the mind of Kohli. But at the end, it was his aggressive captaincy that brought India back in the game as well as in the series.
Ian Healy made comments on him later that he had lost respect for the Delhi-born batsman. He said, "I'm losing respect for him. He's not only now continuing his disrespect of the Australian players and umpires, but I think he's putting pressure on his own players,"
It seems as if he counts for Australia’s aggression as valid and not Kohli’s. The 28-year-old made a stunning reply to him that one person's opinion doesn't matter to him and the person who is making such claims had himself disgraced the game of cricket during his playing days.
Later, the Indian captain had injured his shoulder while fielding in Ranchi. It was an unfortunate incident and he had to go off the field. The Australians knew he was down and they tried to take him down even further by mocking his injury. Glenn Maxwell was seen holding his shoulder after pulling a ball in to make fun of Kohli. Which friend does that?
The Aussie skipper Steven Smith in Bangalore looked back to the dressing room after he was given out LBW for any leads from the pavilion. Kohli rightly interfered and a complaint was launched against Smith. The Aussie skipper might say it was a brain fade but in reality, it was nothing short of cheating.
BCCI was generous enough to withdraw the complaint against Smith. But the question is, would the Australians have done the same if Kohli had done something like that? The answer is no! Because they won't leave any little opportunity to go knock the Delhi lad out.
Remember what happened in Sydney Test in 2008. There were several incidents where the Indians were left stranded and the Australians played against the spirit of the game. Allegations were made on Harbhajan Singh for racial remarks. Did they forget all that and moved on with the game? No! they didn't.
During this series, the CA chief executive James Sutherland commented on the Indian captain, “I’m not sure he knows how to spell the word (sorry) but perhaps at the end of this long and cut-throat series let’s hope the boys can come together and have a bit of a laugh and reflect on that.”
Such comments from a person occupying a renowned post in Australian cricket were disreputable and could totally have been avoided. Never did any BCCI official make such a remark on any of the Australians.
It was earlier believed that the Aussies liked the attitude of Kohli as it was pretty similar to theirs. When he stood up to the challenge in the last tour down under, it seemed as if they respected him for his aggression. But after all that transpired lately, it’s quite evident that they can’t digest anyone standing up against their hostility.
It didn’t happen for the first time. There have been several incidents in the past when the Australians went over the top under the umbrella of sledging. Kohli’s comments on not being friends with them, seem legit after all that transpired in the series.