Are the Aussies born nasty or does all the sun, beach and booze along with the damaged ozone layer in that part of the world leave them collectively afflicted with ‘brain fade’?
One Aussie newspaper over the weekend maliciously referred to Virat Kohli as the world’s highest paid waterboy after he sat out the Dharamsala Test, yet helped out the team during the drinks break.
If that was not spiteful enough, former Test cricketer Brad Hodge suggested that the Indian skipper was saving himself for the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting 5 April.
Commenting on an injured Kohli sitting out the Test in an Australian media outlet, he said “...if you miss one game of Test match cricket and you're fronting up the next week for RCB versus whoever, Bangalore, at Chinnaswamy Stadium — you'd be pretty dirty if he didn't front up to a Test match and try and win a valuable series against Australia — which has been pretty spiteful as well.
“You would think that your captain would get out there and get amongst the fight and get in there,” he said.
“It's happened before. Not just Virat but there's many players that have come up to IPL time and, look, we know it's a cash rich tournament, there's some money up for grabs.”
Hodge, who coaches Gujarat Lions in the IPL, malevolently said that he hoped the Indian star who injured his shoulder while fielding in the third Test in Ranchi would be seriously injured.
“I'm hopeful, as a Gujarat Lions coach, that when we play RCB in a couple of weeks, that he's not playing.”
Thankfully he did not forget to add that Kohli “gets paid a helluva (sic) lot of money anyway, so it doesn't matter, but there are certain players that will limp in, to IPL time, to make sure they get there and perform well, because it is an important tournament for everyone around the world."
With all that venom and viciousness bursting out of him, Hodge’s brain was so scrambled that he forgot Australia’s pathetic track record.
He forgot the crass behaviour of their CEO who flew back to Australia and last week told the media there that Kohli did not know how to spell “sorry”. He forgot the fact that one Australian skipper actually wailed like a baby in public after his team was repeatedly beaten. Or two of their legends admitted that they accepted money from bookies but were still let off by their board. Or an Aussie skipper dropped his pants deliberately in the middle of the pitch right in front of kids and impressionable youngsters. Or even that some of the pathetic Australian cricketers kicked and spat on the Mumbai pitch after they were soundly thrashed by India.
The worst indictment of the Aussies however came from former cricketer turned commentator Tony Grieg. In 1996 Australia had decided not to play their World Cup matches scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka. There was plenty of acrimony during that period especially after India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka ganged up to jointly host the World Cup. A couple of nations, including Australia, probably wanting to wreck the event, said they would not tour Sri Lanka because of fear of the armed insurgents, LTTE.
I had interviewed Grieg for a major national newspaper days before the start of the event and he had famously said: “When men were men Australia sent men to the War” (second World War). His stinging observation of the Aussies pussyfooting created a furore in Australia. It also showed the Aussies for what they were: bullies and poor losers.
It is a fact that the present lot of Australians have not been able to stomach Kohli giving it back to them in spades. Short of calling the Aussie skipper a cheat he has taken them head on time after time in this series and it seems that it has got under their skin to the extent that from their CEO to retired players they are having a go at him at every opportunity.
Kohli is the biggest draw in world cricket, irrespective of whether he is playing Test cricket or IPL. Yes, he is a bigger draw for RCB than even such stalwarts as Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers and the franchise would be very keen that he plays each and every game.
But to even suggest that he sat out the Test to get himself fit for the IPL is downright cheap and unbecoming of a coach. Hopefully this is not the way Hodge played his cricket or the expectation levels he sets for Gujarat Lions. Or it may be time for the Lions to get hold of someone with better credibility.