A pandemic-struck 2020 has taught people different things. For India captain Virat Kohli, it has made him realise how “pointless” sledging is and he promised that “unnecessary stuff will be filtered out” during the upcoming Test series against Australia. His Australian counterpart Tim Paine, however, is ready to push the envelope if the game situation demands that. “I think this year (because of pandemic) also has made people realise a lot of things which might not have been necessary in the past where you hold grudges or you have unnecessary tension between teams or individuals, which is absolutely pointless,” Kohli said on the eve of the opening Test, a day-nighter in Adelaide.
Paine, on his part, agreed that there isn’t a need to get aggressive but he and his men won’t take a “backward step” if need arises.
“Yeah, look, in terms of what goes on in the field, we’ll have to wait and see,” Paine said during his media interaction.
“You certainly don’t go into it planning to have run-ins or be overly aggressive or anything of that. We just sort of go out, try and execute our plans, firstly with our skill, with bat and ball.”
But on field, things do heat up at times, conceded Paine. And should that happen, “…there’s no doubt that this team won’t be taking a backward step.”
The Indian captain, however, feels that there is no need to get personal even if one were to get aggressive.
“You still going to be professional and make sure that you are positive and aggressive in your body language and the way you go about the things on the field,” he said.
“But I don’t think that things are going to be as personal as they used to be before, also because of the fact that we all understand that we are contributing to a larger cause and it’s the quality of cricket that has to stand out.”
But good on-field behaviour is a two-way street and Australia’s controlled aggression after the 2018 ball-tampering scandal and relations developed due to IPL, has contributed largely to this aspect.
“At the end of the day the unnecessary stuff, it’s going to get filtered out pretty much by itself,” Kohli said.
“Yeah, it could be a culmination of playing a lot of IPL. Australia changing their approach to an extent, and also as I said just the way things have panned out this year, everyone is just grateful for the opportunity to be back on the field.”
Tension, stress and emotions are all part of high-intensity sport and it will be there but as one adds years to life, they tend to realise what are the things that need to be curbed, said Kohli.
“I hope that the cricket continues to be competitive and we should not compromise on the quality of cricket and banter is going to go on,” he said.
“There is going to be tension, there is going to be stress, there is going to be emotions flaring every now and then but I don’t foresee anything getting personal anymore,” he made it clear.
“I think also all of us getting smarter…so we are going to make better choices and smarter choices. But make sure that the quality of cricket remains same,” he signed off.
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