As India meets Australia in tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground, expectations as well as excitement of the cricket fans are at an all-time high. The teams have shared a rather disorderly relationship both on and off the cricket ground. Considering that the impending match could be a potentially explosive one, the rival captains are trying their best at stowing the flaring tempers of the players.
Sledging between the two teams has had a fairly long history. Having made fiery on-field exchanges with David Warner during the preceding tri-series, Rohit Sharma said that he did expect a sweltering contest between the two teams. “Look a bit of sledging is okay as long as boundaries are not crossed,” he continued. “The Indian team will not cross the line, but we will not back down either.” It is quite interesting to note that it was at the same venue that saw the infamous “monkey-gate” incident between Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds take place in 2008. Suspended for three matches, Harbhajan had been accused of calling Symonds a “monkey.” Having claimed that the off-spinner had been wrongly accused, Harbhajan’s suspension turned topsy-turvy when the Indian team threatened to walk out of the tour.
The skirmish between the rival teams has never really faded since the iniquitous “monkey-gate.” Various players have been penalized for having engaged in heated exchanges during the game. Three Indian players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, as well as Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc have been charged for a breach of the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct. Having committed two breaches of conduct already, David Warner has been a notorious offender. He might be dropped from playing the World Cup final this season if he is caught committing a third breach of the Code of Conduct in tomorrow’s match against India.
Having said that, Maxwell’s confidence that the players will stick to cricket’s reputation as being a gentleman’s game is a sliver of hope for all cricket lovers. “Personally, I get along with them really well,” he said. “Playing in the IPL, you get to know a lot of them, spend time with them, go to dinners with them and you start to develop real friendships and you stay in touch with them as well. It makes it hard when you play against them because you’ve got to still have that fine line of keeping it competitive on the field but they’re also your mates. So you’ve got to continue trying to play as if you’re playing your worst enemy every time.”
Gentle or not, with both teams reveling in their fantastic forms, the match tomorrow is certainly going to be a clash of the titans!
Image Source: The Viewspaper