“Even so, as an administrative body, the ICC is responsible for meting out fair judgements and unbiased demerit points. At the moment it seems a touch lop-sided and one can’t help but feel that BCCI’s wealthy bracelet is a strong reason for the governing body in cricket to favour the most powerful man under the BCCI umbrella”.
“Virat sometimes comes across as outrageous and I cringe on reading his statements before a series. But if he can bring the best out of himself by needling the opposition, so be it.”
These were Rahul Dravid’s words on Virat Kohli’s bullish pre-match press conferences. Kohli is a passionate, influential individual who likes to pep himself up, boost his own confidence with some hard-hitting words.
The manner in which he carries himself around the field has often won my admiration as cricket needs its share of drama. And who is Kohli hitting after all? He is spurring his teammates on, injecting adrenaline into them and proving to be their Gatorade just when things seem to fall apart.
The constant chirps from the slip cordon during the Test series not only kept South Africa on the alert but also gave the Indian bowlers the belief that they could do as well as the Morkels, Philanders and Rabadas.
When Rabada edged Mohammad Shami to the cordon at Centurion in the second innings of the second Test, Virat Kohli grabbed the ball with absolute disdain, almost nonchalant, making it look as simple as ever and then threw the ball in anger at the turf, mouthing some expletives along the way.
That is the way Virat Kohli plays and everybody, including the body that really matters, seems to be alright about it. As recently as the fifth ODI saw him cursing Aiden Markram after his dismissal, sending him off with a well known derogatory Hindi word.
Interestingly, in the very same ODI, played at Port Elizabeth, Kagiso Rabada sent off Shikhar Dhawan with the forbidden F-word and a bye-bye action, one which definitely did not go down well with the ICC who handed him a 15% match fee fine and one demerit point for his Level one breach of code of conduct.
“Rabada was charged by the on-field umpires Ian Gould and Shaun George, third umpire Aleem Dar and fourth umpire Bongani Jele under article 2.1.7, which relates to using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal during an International Match,” said ICC in a statement.
Kagiso Rabada has been fined 15% of his match fee and given one demerit point after he was charged for using aggressive language/gestures during the 5th #SAvIND ODI.https://t.co/1Vs3PzMSJh pic.twitter.com/oXYRFk3XKh
— ICC (@ICC) February 14, 2018
The difference in treatment meted out is bizarre considering that both have been intent on waving goodbye to the departing batsmen with a few “cordial” words and a “respectful” gesture.
The ICC stated that the South African quick now has five demerit points after receiving three against Sri Lanka last February and one in England last July, which saw him suspended for the Trent Bridge Test just after.
If Rabada reaches eight demerit points in the next 24 months, he will be suspended from either two Tests, one Test and one ODIs or T20s, or four ODIs or T20s.
It is understandable if ICC think that players sending off opposition batsmen are offensive and deserving of a fine and a demerit point which in due course becomes a ban. But shouldn’t the rule be same for all?
If Rabada’s actions were provoking, so was Kohli’s. According to an ICC release, Rabada “made a comment which could have resulted in a reaction from the batsman” which is so vague a statement that you almost question why Shikhar Dhawan did not react.
It is surprising that ICC has come down pretty hard on Rabada while letting Virat Kohli go scot-free despite the two committing pretty similar offences.
Cricket is supposedly a gentleman’s game but every sport – be it cricket, baseball, football, badminton or tennis – is played with utmost passion, enthusiasm and excitement. There is a fine line between aggression and arrogance and several players accidentally step over despite having little intention to do so. It could be a mere reaction to a moment of ecstasy, frustration or anger and mean little else.
While derogatory remarks and send-offs have been part and parcel of the game ever since it’s inception, the amount of scrutiny going into it these days is humungous.
Even so, as an administrative body, the ICC is responsible for meting out fair judgements and unbiased demerit points. At the moment it seems a touch lop-sided and one can’t help but feel that BCCI’s wealthy bracelet is a strong reason for the governing body in cricket to favour the most powerful man under the BCCI umbrella.