Gone are the days when international captains were picked on the basis of how they would fare in public relations apart from their batting, bowling and leadership qualities.
Speech-making was certainly a big criteria when it came to getting the Australia captaincy in the 1950s and a certain Ian Johnston was a benefactor of such a policy.
If Virat Kohli belonged to that era, he would never come near getting a leadership role. The angry young man from Delhi who leads Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League may have had good reason to slam the Wankhede Stadium crowd for their boorish behaviour on Saturday.
Kohli may have been better off if he ignored the booing. For one, badly behaved spectators will keep on making their presence felt and two, he must take things in his stride if he wants to get the India captaincy once Mahendra Singh Dhoni says enough is enough.
Kohli cannot continue reacting to crowd behaviour because there are bigger issues to sort. If he cannot control his emotions, how could he be expected to control his players, who could get volatile in tense situations? After all, a captain must accept responsibility for the actions of his players. Kohli is a smart cricketer and he’ll get smarter if he stops reaching boiling point often.
At the same time, cricket fans must realise that by vehement appealing, the player from the opposition team may not be actually cheating. In the heat of the battle, there is no love lost and cricketers have every right to play with high intensity as long as it is within the laws and spirit of the game.