'What's wrong with Wankhede?'
Though Mumbai Indians won their Pepsi Indian Premier League against Royal Challengers Bangalore in comprehensive fashion, the atmosphere was quite tense at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.
And the constant booing and jeering did not go down well with the RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who was at the receiving end of “cheater-cheater” chants after the controversial run-out of Mumbai’s Ambati Rayudu.
The dashing India batsman was livid with the reaction from the crowd. “I don’t know why they (fans) get so worked up during IPL. IPL is not the end of the world. And they forget that the players they are booing for also play for their country,” Kohli said after RCB’s 58-run loss.
“It is only creating hatred among the players. When I come back and play for India, they are going to cheer for me. It doesn’t work that way,” added Kohli, who had to face the wrath of the agitated crowd when he came into bat and even during the post-match presentation. .
Rayudu got out in a bizarre fashion after his bat collided with R Vinay Kumar’s leg as the bowler tried to collect the throw. This is when a direct hit from Kohli hit the stumps and Rayudu was short of his ground.
The 24-year-old Delhi-based cricketer was shocked at the crowd behaviour. “I don’t know what is wrong with people at this venue. It feels a bit weird because at the end of the day you play for India and you don’t come here to be hated. Whoever wins or loses, in any of the games, you come to Bangalore, every captain is cheered, every Indian player is cheered.
“People appreciate good cricket. I don’t know why people have so much aggression and so much hatred towards other teams in this particular venue. As I said, IPL is not the end of the world,” said Kohli.
Kohli is not the only cricketer who has been jeered by the Wankhede crowd. Even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar was once booed by his home crowd during a Test match against England in 2006. Former MI skipper Harbhajan Singh too has faced Wankhede crowd’s wrath on a few occasions in recent times.
On the run-out incident, Kohli said it is important to have sound knowledge of the game. “You should have that much cricket awareness to see where the bowler is coming back to his mark. He has to back up (the throw) when there is no one behind him.
“It is very important to have knowledge of cricket. If it was any intentional interruption from the bowler, then the umpire would have stopped the batsman.
“It is his job not mine. The umpire told me it was there. The bowler didn’t see the batsman and the batsman didn’t see the bowler, and they collided. It was perfectly fine to be honest,” he said.
Mumbai’s Dwayne Smith, who was man of the match for his 50 and two wickets, did not dwell too much into the run-out incident. “It was a case of fair play but you can’t do anything about it. They decided to go against it,” is all he said.