ICC World Cup: Learn sportsmanship from Watson and Wahab
Though fast-bowler Wahab Riaz's fiery spell to Shane Watson couldn't earn Pakistan a win, it did earn the pacer fans all across the cricketing world, including Shane Watson himself.
The left-arm pacer bowled one of the most devastating and engrossing spells of fast bowling during his team's ICC World Cup 2015 quarterfinal tie against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on March 20.
Defending a paltry 213 against the much-vaunted Australia batting line-up was going to be tough for the Pakistan, but not only did they make a fist of it, they appeared to be on top for a while. 29-year-old Wahab was the main reason for Pakistan being in the contest at all, as he first removed opener David Warner for 24 in his first over and then claimed Australia captain Michael Clarke for eight in his next. Wahab then bowled a brilliant 30-minute spell to Shane Watson that left everyone spellbound.
Riaz' contest with Watson saw the Pakistan pacer peppering the batsman with a series of short-pitched deliveries and even mock applauding and also blowing the 33-year-old Aussie a kiss. Watson, who dropped on four by Rahat Ali at fine leg off a Riaz bouncer during that spell, too shot back with a few choice words of his own.
This heated on-field exchange between the duo led to Watson and Riaz being fined by ICC for its violating code of conduct. While Riaz was punished 50 per cent of his match fee, Watson was fined 15 per cent.
But both cricketers have now shown the world that while they fight like warriors and bitter rivals on the field, off it they are gentlemen and understand the spirit of the game.
The Australian all-rounder, whose 64 not out helped his team record a six-wicket win over Pakistan, wrote on a micro-blogging site on Sunday that he was "lucky to have come out (of the spell) unscathed". He also hasttagged it #Nohardfeelings and #Respect, showing clearly that the war was fought on the field, not off it.
Wahab replied to Watson's tweet with, "It was a good battle on the field. U played well." The Pakistan' pacer also wished Watson luck for Australia's semi-final clash against India at the SCG on Thursday.
Legend Brian Lara had said on Sunday said that that ICC’s decision to Wahab was “uncalled for”, while offering to pay for it himself.
“I don’t know what the ICC is thinking. It’s just uncalled for. We need this in a sport that people are running away from, especially 50-over cricket. I loved the exchange,” the former West Indies batsman said.