VVS Laxman has referenced the death of Phillip Hughes in a scathing and ill-informed critique of Australia’s conduct, saying the visitors defied the spirit of cricket in Ranchi.
Star Sports analyst Laxman, who scored 8,781 runs in a decorated Test career, condemned the visitors for “mocking” India skipper Virat Kohli’s shoulder injury on day three of the third Test.
Laxman was addressing two issues that transpired in Saturday’s post-lunch session.
Glenn Maxwell grabbed his shoulder after diving to stop a boundary in the same fashion that resulted in Kohli’s injury on day one.
Footage then emerged of Steve Smith seemingly grabbing his shoulder after holding the catch to dismiss Kohli, however it was an illusion.
Another angle of the replay showed Smith clearly had the ball in hand. The hand on his shoulder was that of a teammate celebrating the key wicket.
“Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, what example is he setting to his team? That’s very disappointing. You can sledge … it’s fine, but not mocking someone who is injured, in pain,” Laxman said at tea on Saturday.
“I’ve never experienced that because when you are injured, you always care for the opposition player as well.
“Especially after what happened to Phil Hughes, everyone is concerned when someone gets injured.
“Whether he gets hit on the helmet or is injured, there is a concern.
“You play the game a hard way but the spirit of the game should be there. This is defying the spirit of the game.”
Kohli batted without restriction on Saturday. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) declared earlier in the match there were “no serious concerns” about his setback.
Aakash Chopra, who played 10 Tests for India, was also critical of the Australians during the segment.
“It’s not OK to mock him,” Chopra said.
“Yes there is a certain amount of animosity or rivalry, and it’s been flared up quite a bit between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.
“But you must need to know where to draw the line.”
Chopra added Kohli deserved “some amount of blame” for the rising tensions. Kohli walked out to the players’ balcony to sarcastically applaud a failed review from Smith during the morning session.
“These are things that can be avoided. The idea should be to douse the fire, rather than just adding fuel to the fire. This is adding fuel,” Chopra said.