It may have been Virat Kohli's strategy or simply his passion rising during the game, but the Indian captain did not keep quiet through the entirety of the third Test match against South Africa.
The reason why it seems like a strategy is that the entire team was involved in sledging and vigorously so. Never before have we seen our players walking up to the stump mic and saying things directly to the opposition and/or broadcasters.
Here are Virat Kohli and R Ashwin talking into the mic.
KL Rahul, too, had his say when he announced, "(It's like) the whole country (is) playing against XI guys".
The comments of the 3 came after a controversial DRS decision that gave a second life to Proteas captain Dean Elgar in the second innings of the final Test. Dean ultimately got out for 30. Given that the total being chased wasn't too big, this was a decent contribution.
Now, one can understand the frustration of the team in a situation like this. However, they may have taken things a bit too far this time around, because the sledging was constant throughout the match. And unnecessary. And, well, counterproductive in the end.
At one point, Kohl was heard telling Dean, "Unbelievable. Just after a Man of the Match performance in the last game, running from Jasprit. Chirping for 13 years Dean, you think you gonna keep me quiet? We all know who wanted the match called off in Jo'burg 2018. We all know that".
Kohli kept taking shots at his counterpart Dean, and while the South Africa captain couldn't put up great scores himself, the team more than made up for it. They won by 7 wickets, after all. That's something given India's legendary bowling line-up.
Sledging has sort of become a necessary evil in cricket and whether it should be done or not is a bigger discussion. For now, it stays, but there has to be a way to do it. If it's out of line or ineffective, questions will be raised. The same is happening to the Indian cricket team.
Kohli needs to control his Rajput-College-Shekhar-Malhotra-sledging urges for a bit. At least till we lose.— Rahul Desai (@ReelReptile) January 13, 2022
Incredible how much this Kohli's side, the one he calls "generation-defining" Test Team has to eventually depend on so-called 'mind-games'(petty sledging); the insecurity at full display #INDvsSA #ViratKohli— Uday Joshi (@udayjoshi98) January 13, 2022
Most Indian cricket fans are deeply embarrassed by the shrill “Box-Office” antics by our boys.— Vikrant Massey (@VikrantMassey) January 14, 2022
And since nobody would in these times of chest-thumping machoism, very popular in my country, I and most I know would wanna apologise to the SA Cricket team. 🙏🏽
Well played. 👍🏽
At least score enough runs for sledging. Nahi toh kis muh se bolenge. #SAvIND— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) January 11, 2022
What a turn we have come to..India sledging and Australians keeping out of it. India behaving like kids in the park wanting to be out & they despite getting stokes out when the bails didn't come off kept playing gracefully.— Rahul Mahajan (@RahBhakt) January 14, 2022
India are where Australians were a decade ago!!#DRS
Last Match me bhi sledging India ko bharii pdii— Virarsh (@Cheeku218) January 13, 2022
Look like same happening here too😑
It's a good thing India are decent at Cricket because by fuck they're shite at sledging#SAvsIND— Longbob Jimshanks (@Cricketjim84) January 13, 2022
Clearly, some plans need to be revisited in the dressing room.