In­dia’s Kohli speaks out, at last

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

Arsenal’s Me­sut Ozil (right) scores a goal dur­ing the English Premier League match be­tween Arsenal and Swansea City at The Emi­rates Sta­dium in Lon­don yes­ter­day. Arsenal won 3-2.

With City draw­ing, Spurs could have gone top with a fifth straight league win, but needed an 89th-minute goal by Dele Alli to claim a point at The Hawthorns and pre­serve their un­de­feated record.

Nacer Chadli put West Brom ahead in the 82nd minute with his fourth goal in five games since mov­ing from Tot­ten­ham for a club-record trans­fer fee.

Alli fi­nally broke the re­sis­tance of West Brom and its im­pres­sive goal­keeper Ben Foster when he turned home a fin­ish from 10 me­tres, his sec­ond goal in as many league matches.

Other re­sults: Chelsea 3 Le­ices­ter 0; Bournemouth 6 Hull 1; Crys­tal Palace 0 West Ham 1; Stoke 2 Sun­der­land 0. In­dia cricket cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli.

When first I saw Vi­rat Kohli at bat, I thought he had ev­ery­thing to be­come a re­ally top-class bats­man.

When next I saw him, on the tele­vi­sion screen, I re­alised he had be­come one of the best, prob­a­bly the best, bats­men of his time.

Re­cently, how­ever, I noted that as the cap­tain of In­dia, he had also de­vel­oped into a strong, knowl­edge­able, and con­fi­dent leader, con­fi­dent enough to say what he thinks, and es­pe­cially about the in­tri­ca­cies of the game.

Um­pir­ing, and its de­ci­sions, es­pe­cially when­ever a team loses, has long been the talk of crick­eters and the ridicule of play­ers for a long time, to the point that the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) went from two home um­pires to some­times one home um­pire, to one home um­pire, to two ‘neu­tral’ um­pires, and fi­nally to two ‘neu­tral’ um­pires and the de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem (DRS), which calls for the use of the tele­vi­sion in close and ‘chal­lenged’ sit­u­a­tions.

Some of the coun­tries did not fully trust the tele­vi­sion to see it right ev­ery time, but de­spite that, they agreed to its use.

There was, and still is one, how­ever, who re­fused to use it in any Test match, at home or abroad, in which it is in­volved. And that team is In­dia; the big, rich, and bad In­dia.

NO CON­FI­DENCE

They have, time and time again, re­jected the idea of us­ing it, es­pe­cially for leg be­fore wicket (LBW) de­ci­sions, for the sim­ple rea­son that they do not be­lieve in the path the ball trav­els, ac­cord­ing to the tele­vi­sion, af­ter it hits the pad on the way to the stumps.

They also have no con­fi­dence in the tele­vi­sion’s judge­ment as to the bounce of the ball in re­la­tion to it hit­ting the stumps af­ter hit­ting the pads.

And their cap­tains, all of them, in­clud­ing the much cel­e­brated Mahendra Singh Dhoni, agreed with In­dia ev­ery step of the way, even on those oc­ca­sions when it ap­peared that the de­ci­sion of the um­pire on the field went against them.

Re­cently, how­ever, dur­ing the re­cent In­dia-New Zealand se­ries in In­dia, Kohli stepped up, stepped out of line, and spoke about the need to fur­ther dis­cuss the is­sue be­cause it ob­vi­ously is hurt­ing In­dia.

In giv­ing In­dia’s strong­est view that it will start us­ing the DRS soon, Kohli said re­cently, “We will cer­tainly look to prob­a­bly in­tro­duce it (DRS) in fu­ture.”

Kohli may be think­ing this way be­cause dur­ing his short time as cap­tain, In­dia have lost a few matches which the DRS may have saved, and this ob­vi­ously con­vinced him of the mer­its of a re­view sys­tem.

“Hav­ing op­posed the DRS, how­ever, to say that the um­pires made an er­ror and it is go­ing against us, is not log­i­cal,” said Kohli.

“These are the things we have dis­cussed. These are the things we have been meet­ing on be­cause we felt that these ar­eas can be de­bated, es­pe­cially where it con­cerns the ball-track­ing and Hawk­eye.

“Once DRS is up and run­ning for us as well, then you can sit and think what are the grey ar­eas. We want to def­i­nitely think about it,” said the In­dia cap­tain. That is well said. In­dia is a part of the cricket fam­ily, and an im­por­tant part at that.

MOST VALU­ABLE

As prob­a­bly the world’s strong­est team at the mo­ment, as the home of the rich­est cricket league in the world, the In­dian Premier League, and as the coun­try re­spon­si­ble for some 75 per cent of the world’s cricket rev­enue, it is un­doubt­edly cricket’s most valu­able mem­ber.

It is, to me at least, very strange that In­dia has not fallen in line with the other coun­tries in re­spect to the use of the DRS.

The DRS has its short­com­ings, but the prob­lems are noth­ing that round-table talks can­not solve, or could not solve. In­dia should not have been al­lowed to get away with do­ing its own thing when it has been a part of cricket, and a big part at that.

If Kohli’s wishes come true, cricket will be the bet­ter for it, and so will In­dia.

The DRS is an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise, and that is the rea­son Zim­babwe is the only other coun­try which no longer uses it in Test matches, which are seen as bi­lat­eral ar­range­ments.

In ICC-con­trolled tour­na­ments, such as 50-over tour­na­ments, how­ever, ev­ery coun­try, in­clud­ing In­dia, is forced to use the DRS, and that is good.

Thanks to Kohli, it ap­pears that ev­ery team is now singing from the same hymn book, or in­tends to do so, and in the in­ter­est of good cricket and fair play, that must be good for cricket, at least un­til the whole DRS sit­u­a­tion, and cer­tainly as its con­cerns LBW de­ci­sions, is cleared up to the sat­is­fac­tion of all.

AP

Tony Becca

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