Watson gets away once again

"It was Watson who was the agent provocateur and Dhawan was only responding in kind"

"It was Watson who was the agent provocateur and Dhawan was only responding in kind"

India's splendid win over the Australians in the final and deciding one-dayer at Bangalore was a real slugfest.

The number of sixes hit in both the innings was a record, with Rohit Sharma scoring only the third double hundred in one- day cricket and also hitting the most sixes in a one-day innings.

It was an awesome display of batting, and he and Shikhar Dhawan make a terrific opening pair.

Dhawan also batted well but then got into the news for mocking Shane Watson, who was injured during the match.

Not surprisingly, he got a fair bit of flak from the media who completely overlooked the fact that once again, it was Watson who was the agent provocateur and Dhawan was only responding in kind.

A few years back too, Gautam Gambhir was suspended from a Test match because he pushed Watson as he turned to take another run, as Watson refused to move out of the way. There has been a fair amount of bad blood between Watson and the Indians over the years, and it culminated in the action that came from Dhawan.

Watson had been relatively quiet in the earlier matches, but as soon as he got a hundred, it was as if the lock to the mouth had been opened, for he was then swearing at the Indians pretty non- stop.

This Indian team is not going to step back and will give twice as much as it gets, so it was really no surprise that Dhawan, after getting a magnificent century, turned to Watson and gave the Watson signature celebration back at the Aussie, and then in Bangalore, limped after fielding to show how fragile Watson’s body is.

When Dhawan was bowled immediately after that century, Watson ran from midwicket to give him a send- off, but nobody found that distasteful once again, proving that there are double standards when looking at the Indians.

Unfortunately, not one umpire tries to nip a potential fight in the bud and tend to look the other way. That encourages players like Watson to keep going, and when the compliment is returned, it is invariably the other player who is lighter in the pocket while Watson gets away.

All one has to do when the Australians are on the field is to keep looking at Watson, and sooner rather than later you will see that he is offering unsolicited advice to the batsmen. It does not need a Sherlock Holmes to figure out the ‘ who started and who done it’ bit, but seems like the ICC match referees catch the wrong person most of the time.

Frankly, there should be a zero tolerance attitude to any chat on the field, for despite what those who practise and defend it say, it does create bad blood between individual players which then deteriorates into bad tempers between teams.

The Harbhajan Singh incident of 2008 is one that would never have happened if Andrew Symonds had kept his mouth closed and not said anything to the feisty Sardar when he lightly tapped Brett Lee on the thigh after having awkwardly negotiated a bouncer.

That was just a bit of byplay between the bowler and the batsmen who knew each other from earlier contests, and if Lee did not find anything wrong with it, then there was simply no reason for Symonds to poke his nose in it. Once  again, the provocateur got away with the language he used, while Harbhajan got hauled over the coals for his response in Punjabi.

That is why it is essential for the umpires to step in as soon as they see a player either saying something to the opposition player or gesturing to him. This way, any ugly situation will be avoided. The match referees also should be warning the skippers and team management in their pre- series meetings that any exchange of words will not be tolerated, and if done, will face a code of conduct violation.

For far too long, bad examples have been set by the players over the last couple of decades which have unfortunately spilled into junior cricket as the youngsters copy their heroes.

They forget that Rahul Dravids, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman did not have to use their lips but talked only through their bats. That is the example for youngsters and not players like Watson.

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