New Delhi: Terming Ishant Sharma's verbal duels with the Sri Lankans a "pathetic display of aggression", former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi has said Test skipper Virat Kohli needs to control his own belligerence and be a role model for his players.
Ishant Sharma (C) and Sri Lankan cricketer Lahiru Thirimanne (L) exchange words as Ravichandran Ashwin looks on during the fourth day of their third and final Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and India at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo on Monday. Pic/AFP
Ishant played a vital role in India's series clinching win in Colombo, bagging eight wickets in the match to join the 200 wicket-takers club. But his continuous verbal duels on the field not only cost him 65 per cent of his match fee in the second game but a second offence at the SSC in the third and final Test attracted an ICC ban for one Test match.
Bedi called it an unfortunate series of events. "See they talked about aggression and then an Ishant gets banned for a match. Is this what you want on a cricket field? This is pathetic display of aggression. And remember this has nothing to do with Virat's aggression, who is just giving statement after statement and trying to sell his aggression through words," Bedi told PTI in an interview.
"He (Kohli) did a very good job in the context of this series but he needs to control his aggro. There is always one camera which is focused on the captain, so he has to be an exceptionally good role model. You be aggressive with your bat, ball and fielding not with your mouth.
"These are very early days as far as his captaincy is concerned. There is so much more to be done. And there are far too many lacunas in the Indian team. We would be absolutely blind if we don't see the shortcomings now," Bedi said.
In a come-from-behind series win, India registered two comfortable Test victories after losing the opening game in Galle. But Bedi, who congratulated the young team for the win, opined that the visitors were up against a weak opposition and the celebrations that followed were uncalled for.
"Ye itna bada kaddoo mein teer nahin maara hai (It's no great achievement either). If they would have won 3-0 then I would have understood. Ok, now you have won, but what's the need for this craziness. You had gone there to win, right.
"So you did what you were expected to do, what's the fuss all about. Let's not go overboard for goodness sake. This Sri Lankan team was a very weak side. They should have destroyed them," said Bedi.
"But a win is a win. I would like to congratulate the boys, but there is no point in the country going berserk over this victory. There has to be some stability in the mind. You lose, you go mad and then you win, you again go crazy. When are we going to mature and accept defeat and victory in a very balanced manner," he added.