Forget Virat’s Aggression, Question Poor Selection: Sandeep Patil
Virat Kohli’s selection in the last few series should be what needs to be criticised, not his on-field antics, says former India cricketer Sandeep Patil.
Virat Kohli’s selection in the last few series should be what needs to be criticised, not his on-field antics, says former India cricketer Sandeep Patil.(Photo: AP)

Forget Virat’s Aggression, Question Poor Selection: Sandeep Patil

Sunil Gavaskar once wrote that aggression is not in our DNA. I don’t quite agree with him. When the time comes, you have to fight fire with fire. My theory has always been that attack is the best defence.

The problem in the ongoing India-Australia series, though, is who provoked whom first? Who started it all? It’s like which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I don’t understand why the media hyped the sledging in the Perth Test so much. The game has changed over the years, and as long as you don’t cross the line or cross the limit, sledging is now part and parcel of modern-day cricket.

There are umpires on the field and there is a match referee as the super watchdog – the chest-bump between Virat Kohli and Tim Paine in Perth was watched by millions. Even my friend Naseeruddin Shah did not like it. I neither support nor endorse this kind of behaviour, and that too from the captains of the two teams.

Also Read : Naseeruddin Shah Slams Virat Kohli, Calls Him Worst Behaved Player

Virat was made India captain during our tenure as selectors. We knew about his aggression quite well. Three years have passed by and Virat has certainly calmed down and toned down his aggression as well.

Sunil Gavaskar is right in saying that Indians are basically mild and well-mannered, but on the other hand, Sir Viv Richards has come forward to support Virat’s general on-field aggression. Like every person is different, every player and captain is different too.

In my opinion, in the history of Indian cricket, more than 30 players have captained India, but no one was as aggressive as Virat Kohli.

Also Read : ‘Passionate’ Virat Kohli Finds an Advocate in Allan Border

Did ICC fine him or object to his on-field aggression? Has the match referee reprimanded him? Have the umpires filed any negative report of the tussle between Virat and Paine? Has the Australian captain reported anything against Virat? Has any Australian player remarked strongly against this standoff? Then why has this incident been stretched for so long and why has the blame only been put on Virat?

What happens on the field in the spur of the moment, only those involved can fully know. Others watching on TV or listening to commentary can do no more than put words in their mouth.

If Virat wants to change the DNA of Indian cricket and wants to fight fire with fire, as long he is not crossing the line, I am quite happy with it.

Team’s Performance Is What’s of Concern

What should concern us is how Virat and his team are performing away from home. Our team has already made history by winning the first Test in Australia, but by losing the second Test – especially the way they lost it – it’s like taking two steps forward and five steps back. This has become a point of great debate. All those who have played cricket and all those who has been selectors will certainly raise their eyebrows. And mind you, this has not happened for the first time.

You make a mistake and you correct it, but you can’t keep repeating the same mistakes again and again. Like we praise the team’s good performance when they do well, we also have the right to criticise them.

In South Africa, the management dropped Bhuvi who had taken 5 wickets. In England, Rahane was sidelined. In Australia, we now have big questions about who will open for India and there are players like Rohit Sharma who do not know when they will get picked and when they will be dropped. It’s the same deal for the world’s best spinner, R Ashwin. Karun Nair scored a triple century for India but Hanuma Vihari gets a chance before him. There was Ravindra Jadeja in the squad, not to play, but to serve drinks. There are lot more questions, but simply no answers.

Also Read : Perth Test: Aus Beat India by 146 Runs, Series Levelled at 1-1

My Selection Committee Too Raised Questions on Final XI Picks

Captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri are facing criticism for their selection policy. I don’t blame selectors here because once the team is selected, the choice of the final eleven is left with the captain and the coach. This point is also debatable because during our tenure as selectors, we did raise this issue with the BCCI’s top brass as we too were not happy with the final combination of the 11 that was picked.

There are certain things that BCCI does not want to change. If players are accountable, then the captain, coach and the support staff should also be made accountable.

But the fact is that in the current scenario, nobody knows who is in charge in the BCCI, nobody knows whose responsibility it is to make such decisions. After the Lodha Committee and its reformed policy, nobody is clear on who will bell the cat. Everybody is happy securing his or her position and not taking such important decisions, forgetting that the Australia tour is not over as yet. There is still the ODI series to follow.

Also Read : Captains Clash at Perth: Tim Paine Asks Kohli to ‘Keep His Cool’

BCCI More Interested in IPL

While no one seems to be pulling up the management in Australia, it seems the BCCI’s interest is now more focussed on the IPL. At least it appears that way with the kind of reports we’re seeing in the newspapers.

Sunil Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle, Sanjay Manjrekar; they will keep commenting, suggesting and criticising. The media is also only too happy with these kinds of antics.

My worry is that it is not important to be part of the team, it is more important to be the part of the team that has played well, who has behaved well and which has won series abroad.

Here’s looking forward to the Boxing Day Test.

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