Before I come to the point, a bit of a preamble is required. Even at the best of times, the relationship between those who perform and those who write and pass judgments on them is tenuous. And at the worst of times, it is tense and edgy. Over the years, both have generally learnt to live with each other and not cross the line between being downright rude and extra respectful.
Sure, from time to time that line does get blurred and the aggrieved party has the right to protest. In a civilised society there are ways and means to do that and, I guess, we do live in one. An occasional transgression, done in the heat of the moment, can be understood but even that can't be always pardoned.
But what Virat Kohli did on Tuesday in Australia to our correspondent, Jasvinder Sidhu, was at best reprehensible and at worst, downright disgraceful. And don't forget we are talking here about a player who is the captain of the Indian Test side and should soon be the undisputed leader of the team, across all formats.
Result of arrogance
The shocking behaviour, which took place in the presence of journalists, where Kohli hurled the choicest of abuses (though from a distance) at the correspondent and kept reminding him through gestures that he was directing his ire at him, is to me not very surprising. Even if it later turned out that this was a case of mistaken identity, it does not make his act any better.
We in India have created an environment where the players have started believing that they are God's last word on earth and above all decent behaviour and etiquette. In short, they can do no wrong.
Even among this breed, Kohli stands out. We all know what he is capable of on the field. Here I am not talking about his batting, which is simply majestic. It is his rudeness and sledging which I am referring to. The sad part is not only did we decide to condone his juvenile aggression we rewarded him with the Indian captaincy. In fact, many in India believe that is the way to go and that speaks of the values we now believe in.
Too much leeway
It is this encouragement which has probably emboldened him to throw all decency to the winds and unleash his acerbic tongue on the hapless reporter this time.
Only on Monday, we had the new BCCI president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, announce to the world that he has been given this mandate to cleanse cricket in India. The entire cricketing fraternity, which includes players, journalists as well as fans, will be beholden to him if he does that and also places a code of conduct in place for his players. Till that is done, the least we expect from the board is to penalise the player and remind him that he represents the country and not street goons who relish a bruising brawl.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)