Oz players mimic Kohli's injury, draw flak

Oz players mimic Kohli's injury, draw flak

It’s one thing to be aggressive and try to get under your rivals’ skin but quite another to mock an injured opponent. The Australians’ attempts to take a dig at Virat Kohli’s shoulder injury on the third day of the third Test here were unbecoming of an international team.

The incidents took place in the 81st over of India’s innings when Glenn Maxwell gave a long chase to pull a Cheteshwar Pujara drive past mid-off and landed on his left shoulder before rolling over the boundary. As he got up and began his journey back to his fielding position, Maxwell playacted the injury, clutching his left shoulder with an impish smile. It was an obvious reference to Kohli who had hurt himself at the same place while making a similar dive.

If you thought of dismissing it as one-off, or a brain-fade moment as Australia may put it, you were in for another such act by the visiting team. As a result of Maxwell’s save, Pujara could get only three runs which brought Kohli on to strike.

The Indian skipper, in an attempt to drive Pat Cummins through cover, nicked one and Smith took a smart catch at slip. As if rubbing salt into Kohli’s injury (pun intended), Peter Handscomb ran to Smith from gully and held his skipper’s left shoulder, a la Maxwell, in an apparent taunt directed at the dismissed batsman.

Smith didn’t try to prevent Handscomb from doing so. In a similar situation in 2013, the then India captain M S Dhoni had admonished Shikhar Dhawan, who tried to mock Shane Watson’s hamstring injury in an ODI in Bengaluru.

Former India player-turned-commentator V V S Laxman tore into Smith for setting poor standards. “Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, what example are they setting to their team? That’s very disappointing. You can sledge ... It’s fine, but not mock someone who is injured, in pain,” Laxman said during tea break programme on Star Sports.

“You play the game a hard way but the spirit of the game should be there. This is defying the spirit of the game.”

The Indian team appears to have taken note of Australia’s behaviour and warned that the visitors should be ready to cop some.  “See a lot of things are happening, but to be honest we have really focussed on the game,” said M Vijay later. “We have a match in hand so we've got to go close to their target (total) and that’s what is running in our heads, in the dressing room. All the players are aware of it (mocking incident). Whatever they're doing, we take it sportively.

There's going to be a second innings, so hopefully if they can take it that way, it'll be great,” he remarked.
DH News Service

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