Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Aug 2017 11:12:49

INDIAN cricket captain Virat Kohli’s expectation that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should show consistency and clarity in implementation of its rules and guidelines for players, is quite reasonable. Such expectation from a top notch international cricketer may not be without some reason. It is likely that the ICC may be acting against supposedly errant cricketers on the observation of the umpires, both field as well as the third umpires, which again could be very subjective. Hence Kohli’s expectation that the ICC should be consistent and should have clarity on the interpretation of rules and regulations. Otherwise there is likelihood of miscarriage of justice. 

Kohli expressed his opinion on the issue in the background of the suspension of world number one bowler and a dependable batsman Ravindra Jadeja for logging 26 demerit points over a period of past 24 months.

The immediate provocation for the ICC to act so harshly against Jadeja was his throw of ball at a Sri Lankan batsman during the second test, which was construed as dangerous. He had also been allotted negative points for running on the pitch in the past. Naturally these offenses should never occur as that vitiates the spirit of the game which is supposed to be played in a gentlemanly manner and in an atmosphere of friendship.

Players in the past have committed grave offenses against their opponents during the course of the games, resulting in acrimony and even bad blood. Hence the ICC has framed rules and regulations to keep in check players’ behaviour. All international professional cricketers are expected to know these rules and regulations and follow them in their letter and spirit.

Even after that if they violate the laid down norms, may be inadvertently at times, in the run and hit of the play, they still deserve to be punished, as has been done in case of Ravindra Jadeja.

While Kohli’s expectation that the ICC should be consistent and show more clarity so that players are forewarned and be cautious about their behaviour on the ground, it is also the duty of the captain, as the leader of the team, and the over all management team to educate the teammates about the norms that the ICC has laid down. Players cannot take refuge behind ignorance of the norms. Professionals are expected to be well versed with the rules and regulations governing the game.

Following the norms should become an inexcusable part of team culture. That is the least that is expected of international cricketers. That will enhance the spirit of camaraderie among opposing teams and help build a healthy, sporting competition where there will be no place for acrimonious rivalry. Kohli should work for that as the leader of young men.