Expect more verbal volleys in the series
Triggered by the Eden Gardens epic in 2001 and followed by a number of eventful contests after that, India-Australia matches have become Test cricket's showpiece event, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2008 01:00 IST
Triggered by the Eden Gardens epic in 2001 and followed by a number of eventful contests after that, India-Australia matches have become Test cricket's showpiece event. People may still argue in favour of Indo-Pak games or the Ashes, but in terms of sheer intensity and drama, cricket's newest rivalry surpasses the traditional ones.
These matches are remarkable as much for their verbal contents as the quality of cricket. From Steve Waugh's outburst against Sourav Ganguly for turning up late for toss seven years ago to the exchange between Zaheer Khan and Matthew Hayden on Monday, spats have added 'value' to these matches just like cricketing deeds have.
As result, 'chit chat' has become as common a word as 'reverse swing'. There was talk of both at the post-match media conference on Tuesday and ears were more eager when it came to how much and what should be said in the middle. Neither Mahendra Singh nor Ricky Ponting accepted that this was an issue worth discussing.
"A little bit of chit chat is okay as long as you don't cross the limits. And to beat Australia, playing good cricket is more important," said the India captain. "I've never worried about a little bit of chit chat on the field. The match referee and umpires are there to decide how much is permissible," said his Australian counterpart.
For obvious reasons they can't say much about this in public, but the number of times players have got involved in duels not featuring bat and ball since the ODI series in India last year is hard to ignore. India's subsequent tour of Australia was full of verbals and though on a lesser scale, it has continued in this series as well.
It started with an exchange of glares in Bangalore and it wasn't long before words came into play. The incident involving Zaheer and Brad Haddin was the first visible example. It has not ended there and apart from some fiery cricket, don't be surprised if you hear more of the ICC Code of Conduct and more hearings.