The ongoing India-Australia series has gone way beyond on-field banters and the rivalry has reached a whole new level, with the media being involved too.
Keeping in mind the fact that relations between the cricketing giants remain strained following the four Tests of animosity, we ask: Have both teams crossed the line in this series?
What side are you on in our debate?
AJIT VIJAYKUMAR, SAYS YES
The Border Gavaskar series has seen some of the highest quality of cricket in recent times. Batsmen, spinners and pacers from both sides have come up with splendid efforts throughout the series and neither team can truly claim to have dominated the other.
But while the cricket has been of the highest order, the behaviour of those involved in it has been appalling.
It started with Virat Kohli stopping short of calling Steven Smith a cheat for taking the help of the dressing room for a decision review.
Both cricket boards jumped to the defence of their captains. Then, India’s Ravi Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara gave details about what all was being said between the players in the middle. But before things got out of hand, a truce was signed.
Both teams promised to uphold the spirit of the game but it didn’t take long for the situation to blow up once again.
Friends in Australia tell me they are perturbed by the toxicity this series has generated. Cricket lovers in India saying so too.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 21, 2017
In the Ranchi Test, Kohli sustained a shoulder injury while diving which curtailed his availability for the match. Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell thought it was a good idea to have a laugh at Kohli’s expense, clutching his shoulder as a joke while fielding.
Things got worse when Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland suggested on a radio show that Kohli doesn’t know how to spell the word sorry.
This came after the Indian and Australian boards had agreed to bury the DRS controversy despite the Indian camp insisting Australia had consistently sought the help of the dressing room for reviews, which is a blatant violation of the system.
There have been numerous series in the past where tensions have boiled over. But this time, it has become personal.
Players and even boards have displayed a behaviour that suggests a deeprooted dislike of the opposition, which is just waiting to come out.
And let’s not even get the media involved, which has played its part in adding more venom to the toxic situation. It might look good on TV but I get a feeling there is a certain level of hate involved and that is not sport.
JAMES PIERCY, Deputy Editor, SAYS NO
Captains at each others throats, boards sounding off, opposing media companies firing accusations across the continent, suspicions of subterfuge concerning wickets and genuine contempt from both sides – hasn’t it all been so very entertaining.
Cricket is the most noble of sports, its traditions and conventions dating back centuries to simpler and more polite times.
The sadly-departed comic Robin Williams once famously described the sport as, “basically baseball on Valium”.
On the one hand it was a nod to cricket’s relaxing and care-free spirit but at the same time could also be perceived as a dig at the often ponderous play and monotony of a five-day Test.
And while that quote may not have resonated much outside the United States when it was made in 1991 with the West Indies in their pomp and the other Test-playing nations all performing at similar high levels, the rise of Twenty20 has made it desperately relevant today.
T20 has brought the money and showbiz to the sport and provided a perfect platform to appease the impatient masses.
As a result, Tests have suffered with attendances outside of England struggling and the lack of meaningful series punctuated by the bizarre trend of having two or four-match contests.
Too many teams look like they’re going through the motions, fulfilling contractual obligations. This Border-Gavaskar has been different, though.
It’s meant something. The animosity on the field has been replicated among fans in the stadiums and those watching on TV.
Virat Kohli and Steve Smith arch-villains or glorious heroes, depending on which side of the fence you sit, and the soap opera that surrounds it all has helped fuel a narrative that, for once, goes beyond if a player is injured or not, or if a team should play one or two spinners.
It has got a little silly at times, but not physical or threatening, and this competitive flame that rages has helped make the contest what it is – one to remember; and how many series can you say that about?