As the World Cup moves along keeping the cricket fraternity of the World engrossed, here are some interesting sidelights witnessed within first 10 days:
Virat Kohli’s heart warming gesture: The Indian Captain has proved once again that he has more endearing qualities aside from his ruthless aggression on the field. As a true ambassador for the sport , his wonderful gesture towards Australian player and former captain Steve Smith has totally mesmerized the cricketing fraternity. It so happened that in the high octane India vs Australia match a section of the Indian crowd was ruthlessly booing Steve Smith, making him remember his ball tampering episode which led to his ban from cricket for 1 year which ended just before World Cup. Kohli, who was batting at that stage noticed it and went towards the crowd and gestured them to desist from booing and applaud Smith. It was perhaps the most moving gesture by a cricket player ever , in support of his opponent during a live cricket match. Soon a beaming Smith was seen going towards Kohli during a small break and thanking him for his great gesture. Virat and Smith had a bitter relationship record dating back to 2017 acrimonious India v Australia series in which a DRS row in Banglaore test sparked off huge controversy which affected their relations in the past. Both of them has moved on since then and the last year ball tampering scandal in South Africa led to Smith’s ban from cricket for one year which created some sympathy for him amongst his contemporaries and Virat was one of them. Later Virat emphasized that Smith has already gone through the horrors of a suspension after a wrongdoing ,something which he accepted and now does not deserve to be treated poorly by cricket fans after getting back to play cricket for his country. Absolutely amazing gesture by Indian captain which shows his class , highly praised across social media and something that will be long remembered. Surely one of the highlights of this World Cup.
Dhoni’s army logo controversy: Whatever MS Dhoni does, the whole country gets involved in and opinions multiply. During the South Africa game , Dhoni had an army dagger insignia logo on his gloves as a solidarily for Indian army. Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the territorial army and the dagger is a part of their emblem. However the ICC would have none of it and finally forced Dhoni to get rid of that logo. Dhoni already has an SG logo on his gloves and apparently as per rules only one sponsors logo is allowed on the gloves. Finally Dhoni and BCCI had to relent and with India and Australia locking horns several hours later , the BCCI followed the prudent option not to take the case any further and allow the Indian team to focus on the match.
Bails not falling after ball hitting stumps. This item has come up very often with already 5 such instances in this World Cup , latest being Warner , consistently proving that apparently due to some electric equipment fitted with the stumps to get it glow when ball hits, there could be a possibility of bails getting marginally heavier and hence not falling down even after fast bowlers are hitting stumps. This is something that is a worry for the bowlers in particular and soon the ICC needs to get into the act and start to brainstorm on this recent phenomenon.
No reserve day for league games: This is a disappointing part of the World Cup with two important games: Pakistan vs Srilanka and South Africa vs West Indies, getting washed out and with no reserve day available teams are having to share points. This scenario is more difficult for the favourite teams as they apparently misses out on full points. In the above cases, Pakistan and West Indies were favourites and they should be mighty disappointed in having to share points. And with weather itself very fickle in England ,there should have been reserve days provision for all matches to make this World cup more exciting. In the 1999 World Cup in England ,there were reserve day provisions as was in first 3 editions.
Sea of Blue in India v Australia clash: While the arch rivals faced off at the Oval, the whole ground was a sea of blue as the Indian fans were all over the Oval stands. They made lots of noises as Indian batting enthralled them in the first half after Shikhar Dhawan’s 117, Kohli’s 82 and Pandya’s breezy 42 off 28 balls which deflated the much vaunted Aussie attack on a batting featherbed. Then the Indian bowlers buoyed by the huge Indian crowd proceeded to choke the dangerous David Warner for runs so much so that he could get only 56 off 84 balls . Smith’s determination and late surges by Maxwell and Carey could not get Australia past the line and India at the end outplayed them by 36 runs on a belter at the Oval . Dhawan’s 100, Pandya’s cameo , Warner’s slow innings and Indian bowlers better show than their counterparts were the big four reasons for India’s win which had the massive Indian presence absolutely enthralled. It was a super Sunday party time for the Indian fans at Oval, London which wore the colour blue.