Ahmedabad, March 4 : Post Covid-19 as teams returned to the cricket field with gratitude, they avoided altercations on the field as resumption of cricket was the priority with everyone thankful for it. However, as series have progressed, things have gradually gotten ugly.
First it was India’s tour of Australia which started on a cordial note only to turn ugly by the end of the third Test in Sydney with Tim Paine’s exchanges with R. Ashwin grabbing headlines. And on Thursday, it was the India-England series, which had gone well for the first three Tests but which saw sparks flying as India skipper Virat Kohli and England batting all-rounder Ben Stokes got involved in an altercation.
Mohammed Siraj shared a few words with Stokes in the first session following which Kohli jumped into it and it led to the intervention of one of the umpires.
Both Stokes and Siraj played down the incident saying these things happen on the field.
“It’s two professionals showing they care about the sport that they love. A lot gets said these days when two guys seem to come to words out in the middle. There was completely nothing untoward, just two blokes who care about what they do and two guys who definitely don’t back down,” said Stokes while speaking to the media after the match.
The 26-year-old India pace bowler Siraj refused to disclose details saying only that Stokes abused him first before he had to call upon skipper Kohli to settle scores.
Siraj had been walking up to Stokes in his follow-through and staring at him.
“That keeps happening on ground. He (Stokes) abused me, then I spoke to Virat who handled it well. This keeps happening. It is not a big issue,” said Siraj while talking to the media later.
Neither revealed what was said.
A couple of months back in Sydney, the Australia skipper while struggling to break the partnership between Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari, told Ashwin he is not liked by his teammates unlike him and that he was waiting for him to get to the Gabba. Ashwin too responded saying his visit to India would be the last of his career.
England pace bowler Stuart Broad, who is not playing this Test after playing the last two, had criticised Paine for his outburst.
“This is all a part of the game. The Test match battle but Painey won’t get away with that language with the laws above,” the England pacer had tweeted.
Paine had, however, later apologised.
It looks quite evident from these incidents that as international cricket gets back to normal, players will forget the gratitude and turn cut-throat.