That India’s players had taken note of Australian commentator Kerry O’Keeffe’s insensitive and ill-informed remarks on the Ranji Trophy was clear to see in the post-match presentation of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
The Aussie commentator had enraged Indian fans with his comments on debutant Mayank Agarwal during Boxing Day. Belittling Agarwal’s Ranji Trophy credentials, O’Keeffe had mocked that the India opener’s domestic triple ton had come against a ‘Jalandhar Canteen XI’.
His fellow Fox Sports commentator Mark Waugh too had taken a dig at the country’s domestic cricket structure by stating that an average of 50 in India was equivalent to 40 in Australia.
Following India’s 137-run triumph in the third Test on Sunday, both skipper Virat Kohli and man-of-the-match Jasprit Bumrah did not miss an opportunity to laud the virtues of the domestic first-class structure.
When asked to point the reason for India’s success, Kohli was quick to respond, saying: “Our first-class cricket is amazing.”
“The tough conditions with the second new ball makes bowlers hard and bowling with the old ball proved to be a difference in this match,” added Kohli in a response clearly aimed at O’Keeffe’s on-air comments.
Bumrah, who picked up a nine-wicket match haul, cited his experience of playing in the Ranji Trophy when queried about his heavy workload in the Test.
“We train very hard and we are used to bowling a lot of overs in Ranji Cricket, so the body is doing well,” the India pacer stated.
India bowling coach Bharat Arun had on Saturday admitted that the team had been aware of O’Keeffe’s disparaging remarks. Judging by the post-match comments by Kohli and Bumrah, it can safely be assumed that the team had been hurt by the Aussie’s remarks.
O’Keeffe tried to limit the damage of his multiple controversial comments during the Test by sending an open letter to Indian cricket fans on Sunday. The damage though, has already been done.
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