Vohra’s view: Far graver issues for cricket than dissent following Kohli's match fee fine

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Excessive: The 30 per cent match fee fine on Virat Kohli against Pakistan was way out of proportion for his action.

It seems a little excessive to fine a batsman large sums of money for pointing his bat as evidence of not being out to the umpire; pretty much what Virat Kohli did during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan. Compare that to the mob that surrounds a soccer referee or a hockey umpire, and the protest is diluted vanilla in comparison.

This anointing of the custodians of the game on field as being above reproach has gotten a bit tiring. Seeing how they make their fair share of errors and are willing conspirators in that absurd charade of making batsmen wait after they are out to see if the foot of the bowler didn’t cross the line, my sympathy sort of dries up. If you didn’t call it when it happened, you cannot fall back on replays to check it out. That is cheating. Not so long ago there was a lusty yell of ‘ No baaaalll’ and the batsmen went for it. That is not in the rules any more.

With the World T20 and the IPL in rapid succession, it is time to clean up the act.

The other annoyance is the needlessly high number of angles and cameras and it detracts from, not enhances, viewing pleasure. They even have cams on the heads of the umpires. I truly do not want to see the umpire’s finger in dramatic close up.

This visual burden is further ruined by the endless graphics and the now inane information flung at the helpless audience. On Mondays and Tuesdays Pakistan win 45 per cent of their matches. If there are clouds in the sky, then India lose 56 per cent of their games. If a mongrel walks across the pitch mid-game, Sri Lanka loses 33 per cent of their games.

There has to be a limit to this deluge of utterly pointless data and we seem to have crossed it. Leave the game alone and let us watch in peace. Rather they spent money on Snicko and DRS and had a challenge each for the teams, all of which reduce the error factor.

I do wonder who sits there working out these gimmicks and foisting them on us. In the current tournament, they have a ridiculous semi-circle with clock hands that bounces around indicating the win percentage at a given time, these projections based on the most tenuous of inputs…besides making a mockery of the glorious uncertainty of cricket. The replays they show now are so frequent, you lose track of whether you are watching live, or the done-and-dusted for the 17th time. It is almost as if they were all bent on taking the fun out of game by deflecting attention.

Perhaps where the most attention should be paid is on the close ups of players and the easy lip reading of the foul words used. The non-English equivalents make sledging sound like a conversation in a convent and it will come as no surprise if warnings are issued before the games start asking adults to exercise parental caution if children are part of the TV audience and children are certainly watching.

In fact children make up 43.67 per cent of the viewing public (go on, prove me wrong) and with so many mics on the pitch, these kids are exposed to not just the mouthing of the vituperative but even the low-key sound that follows the obscenity, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind what has been said. Rather swiftly the parlour game of guessing what the word is has now become redundant. Everyone knows, including the commentator.
One way of probably ending the verbal ugliness is to issue red and green cards so that batsmen are docked runs, or, for a second offense, sent back to the pavilion and bowlers blocked from doing their thing for say, thirty minutes.

These steps will at least clean up the act a bit because the way cricket is being broadcast, it is on the top of the list as the most profane sport in the world.

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Chopra: Kohli and Amir performances transcend Indo-Pak rivalry

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Kohli (l) and Amir stole the show.

First the Mohammad Amir Show, then the Virat Kohli Show, and somewhere in between we also had one of the most anticipated cricket matches between old foes India and Pakistan. These two young men showed that sometimes individual performances are so breathtaking that they can transcend the game, irrespective of how important the game was perceived to be. Since it’s a batsman’s game and the fact that India went on to win, it only seems fair to start this week’s column by giving due credit to the man who made 83 look like a very defendable score and brought everyone who watched the game to the edge of their seats.

Even before the Asia Cup started, there was a lot of anticipation around Amir’s return to the fold. He departed international cricket as a very young and promising player led to the dark side by elder statesmen in the Pakistan side. While those impressions were still fresh in our memories, we weren’t oblivious to the fact that his staying away from top flight cricket for five years well and truly tarnished his burgeoning reputation and there were concerns his talent would diminish. Five years is a long time in cricket and if you haven’t even played domestically in that period, your comeback becomes that much tougher. How do you keep yourself motivated? You might spend countless hours in the gym but if you haven’t bowled to quality batsmen in pressurised match situations, how do you upgrade or even maintain your skill-level?

Before the Asia Cup, Amir did tour New Zealand and play in the Pakistan Super League but without it being televised in India, the country had largely not seen his performances and there was scepticism around his return. But he dispelled that notion in his very first over against India. First was the impeccable yorker that hit Rohit Sharma on the toe and the second that shaped in after pitching to find Ajinkya Rahane plumb in front. From the first ball of his spell to the very last, we watched in awe. His 24 balls lasted no longer than 35 minutes but it left us with memories to cherish. I was too young to admire the quality of Wasim Akram’s bowling when he was at the peak of his powers but I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t have been too different from what we witnessed from Amir in Mirpur. The exhibition of swing at such consistent pace was sensational.

T20I records of Kohli & Amir

  • Kohli: Matches - 35, Runs - 1271, Average - 48.88
  • Kohli: Highest Score - 90*, Fifties - 12
  • Amir: Matches - 22, Wickets - 27, Average - 21.29
  • Amir: Best Bowling - 3-18, Strike-Rate - 17.7

It needed something equally brilliant to counter that quality and that came from Kohli. It’s not that Amir didn’t trouble him but the fact that he couldn’t dismiss him showed that it was a contest amongst equals. Amir asked tough questions but Kohli had the answers, altering his game to suit the demands of the situation and weathered the storm.  He played close to the body, didn’t try anything fancy and, more importantly, understood that counter-punching Amir wasn’t an option on this occasion. Aggression isn’t always about hitting fours and sixes; it’s also about being decisive in your movement and defending with conviction. Once Amir’s spell was done, Kohli swiftly changed gears and showed that there aren’t many better chasers than him.

The toughest thing to do in a pressure situation is to resort to what comes naturally and Kohli did just that. He played percentage cricket but the quality of skill-set is such that even while doing that, he could score at run-a-ball against a good bowling unit. There was a time when Indian batting revolved around Tendulkar and people used to say in every tough situation that ‘Sachin Hai Na’ (Sachin is still there…there’s hope). Virat Kohli has assumed a similar stature—so, Stay Calm and Trust in Kohli.

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Incredible fan sand art of India legend Sachin Tendulkar

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The artist in question is Hari Krishna, who shared the post to his Facebook Page, the video subsequently being shared at a rapid rate.

It is little wonder, the video capturing some of Tendulkar’s greatest moments of his illustrious career, all in a truly unique manner.

Use #360fans across social media or comment below to tell us your thoughts on the video and who else you would like to see immortalised in this way.










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