India’s players have escaped the formal sanction for an outburst on the pitch after a DRS decision went against them in the third Test against South Africa.
While some reports claimed that ICC match leaders had informally talked to the Indian team management about the players’ behavior, the governing body has not established any official code of conduct.
The Indians had been furious when South Africa captain Dean Elgar had an LBW verdict overturned by ball-tracking technology when he was in a central position on the 22nd the third afternoon in Proteas’ ultimate successful hunt.
The delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin turned out to jump over the top of the stumps at Hawk-Eye’s ball tracking, and the furious Indian players could be heard over the stump microphones criticizing the technology.
Ashwin, ahead of the bowling of the next delivery, approached the stump microphone range and shouted, “You should find better ways to win, SuperSport.”
India captain Virat Kohli also deliberately went to the stumps to speak into the microphone, saying, “Focus on your team as they throw the ball. Not just the opposition. Trying to catch people all the time.”
This appears to be a reference to the events in Cape Town in 2018, where SuperSport cameras played a role in revealing Australia’s ball manipulation, with now infamous images of sandpaper being used on the ball and then tucked in front of Cameron Bancroft’s trousers.
KL Rahul, India’s vice-captain, was heard over the blunt microphone saying: “It’s the whole country against 11 guys.”
SuperSport uses technology from Hawk-Eye Innovations, the same providers that work with ICC and BCCI, among others.
After falling to a seven-wicket defeat in Cape Town, with the Proteas claiming the series 2-1, Kohli was defiant at his post-match press conference.
“We understood what was happening on the pitch and people from the outside do not know the exact details of what is going on on the pitch, so for me to try to justify what we did on the pitch and say we were torn with is wrong, said Kohli.
“If we had been charged up and picked up three wickets there, it would probably have been the moment that changed the game.
“The reality of the situation is that we did not put enough pressure on them for extended periods during the test match and therefore we lost the match.
“One moment seems very nice and very exciting to make a controversy out of, which I honestly am not at all interested in making a controversy out of.
“It was just a moment that went by and we went on from there, and just kept focusing on the match and trying to collect wickets.”
The ICC states on its website that its code of conduct is to “maintain the cricket’s public image, popularity and integrity by offering an effective means of deterring any participant from behaving improperly on and off the ‘course-of-play’ or in a way that is contrary to the ‘spirit of cricket’ “.
While the governing body no longer maintains an updated public register of its code of conduct, there has been a long history in which the ICC has fined players for language use over the blunt microphone, even though none of the Indian players cursed in broadcast comments.
Proteas is set to host Australia in 2023
Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket, Graeme Smith, the former captain, confirmed that the Proteas expect to host Australia for a rescheduled test trip in mid-2023.
The series, written in August of the same year, would be a reorganization of the February 2021 series, which was canceled due to travel concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa is also seeking to reschedule a three-match ODI series against England, which was canceled in December 2020.
“England, I think, are around February-March next year, and then Australia is in August 2023 to replace (the 2021 test series). It will be announced sometime soon,” Smith told SuperSport during the test.
The series victory against India has been a source of immense pride after being well beaten with 113 races in the first test in Pretoria, but returned to win in both Johannesburg and Cape Town against the number 1 in the world.
Elgar said he had to show some ‘hard love’ to his players, which he believes was behind their turn in fortunes to win a pulsating test series.
“We have a young, talented group,” Elgar told reporters after the victory was complete. “The experience is not there, but we get it and get better every day.
“It was unreal to see how a group that does not have the ‘names’ could come together and play as one. This is a proper unit. It was a proper team victory.”
Elgar admits he did not pull any strings after the loss in Pretoria and says there were some tough talks in the group.
“Ultimately, if you want to work at a high performance level, you have to have hard, hard chats. If guys don’t like it, it’s up to them to deal with it,” he said.
“I’m a bit of an old school mentality with a new school twist, but I put some real challenges to some senior players to stand up and react. It was brilliant to see the boys take the message on board.
“If you want to be world number one in the future, you have to compete and beat the best.”
South Africa, who won their previous series in the Caribbean in June, will host world test champions New Zealand in two matches next month.
“We are by no means the finished article,” Elgar said. “But I’m already thinking of the next series, which is something I have to try to control and control, because I want to burn my brain out.
“There are a lot of positive things in that series, but also a lot of negative things we have to hit our heads on.”
Additional reporting from Reuters