Australians are considered one of the worst sledgers in the world. There are plenty of articles available of their tales of their sledging. There are personal accounts of not only current players, but retired players saying that nobody sledges like the Australians. Even though the current lot isn’t as verbose as their predecessors, Australian coach Justin Langer’s comment on Virat Kohli’s celebration was wholly unwarranted.
Kohli, one of the most aggressive cricketers in the Indian team, intimidates the opposition to an extent that the Australian players decided not to sledge him ahead of the Test series. The Indian skipper was roaring in delight on Day 2 (December 7) as Ishant Sharma sent two stumps flying to knock over Aaron Finch.
Langer, however, had a lot to say about Kohli’s passion during the celebration and what will happen if Australians celebrate the same way now. He told Fox Sports Australia:
“You love seeing that passion in sport, don’t you? Mind you, I think if we did that at the moment we’d be the worst blokes in the world, but it’s a fine line isn’t it? That’s the truth of it. But I love seeing the passion, I mean that’s great passion but, as I said, there’s a fine line isn’t there?”
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Despite the #sandpapergate incident which led to bans on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, one does not expect Australian side to go easy. Australia’s pace trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were still having a few words with Indian batsmen to unsettle them.
The Australian culture has not changed. It is just against Kohli, that they have decided to take a no-sledging approach. Dear Justin Langer, your players can still celebrate passionately. We won’t mind that. Kohli would not mind that. The whole Indian team would not mind that.
Former Indian cricketer who has been on receiving end of Australian players’ sledging on several occasions, had a fitting answer to Langer. An excerpt from Laxman’s response during discussion with ESPNCricinfo:
“Neither did Virat sledge, neither he used abusive language (sic) – that’s the way he celebrates. If I was Justin Langer, I would tell the team forget about celebration, or what the opposition team is doing.”
Dear Justin Langer, no one expects Australian players to be saints on the field. So stop hiding behind Smith-Warner-Bancroft bans and the team’s image, it’s in the past. How about you focus on the present?