Human nature is a strange thing.
Sometimes it is stunning, and sometimes infuriating. Arrogance blurs that line, and often makes things confusing. Because there I was, watching the much-anticipated Bangladesh vs India semi-final match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, when Kohli’s “tongue wagging” gesture threw me off -- was it necessary? Was it professional?
If anything, the whole tournament taught us that arrogance does not bode well, especially in the international stage.
It was distasteful and disrespectful, to say the least. It was also something that was justified as a “spur of the moment” celebratory emotion as Mushfiq Rahim’s wicket was a game changer that tipped the balance in favour of the Indians.
But haven’t there been other feats in the history of cricket? Haven’t there been other times on the field, when a team has earned a wicket, or a feat responsible for changing the course of a match? I am certain that there have been many such cases.
Did cricket legends make unforgettable (for all the wrong reasons) gestures in those situations?
Cricket gets us all riled up, and for good reason. With the Tigers’ prominent uptick in performance, we have good reason to celebrate and appreciate cricket much more now than before, because our team is now one of the world-class teams.
And that fact alone adds a lot to the cricket mania here in Bangladesh.
Sunday’s final of the Championship Trophy 2017 was a nail-biting match at the start, then Pakistan’s extraordinary performance on the field had every spectator in complete awe -- like in a trance, cricket enthusiasts watched.
Bangladeshis enjoyed India’s defeat more than they enjoyed Pakistan’s victory
The Pakistan cricket team has made history, and their win was rightfully applauded by the world at large, a mark left in the cricket world to be looked at in the future as a testament to what class cricket looks like.
Also, mostly because of the anger festering among fellow Bangladeshis for the Indian cricket team, be it the cricket team’s arrogance in the world stage or Kohli’s gracious gesture in a match played against us, Bangladeshis enjoyed India’s defeat more than they enjoyed Pakistan’s victory.
And on Wednesday, news of Anil Kumble stepping down as the head coach of Indian cricket team took the internet by storm. Speculation began, and sports journalists reflected on the not-so-smooth captain-coach relationship.
It all boiled down to the jawans’ arrogant spirit, their arrogance reached heights that even the legendary Kumble failed to tackle.
So, how are we to appreciate the best cricket team’s unwavering arrogance in the field (in the heat of the moment) when it is just that making headlines and causing a fuss in their own inner circle?
At the end of the day, it’s only a game of cricket, there is no need to lose sleep, or lives, over this.
As our captain aptly explained at a press conference, (you know the one making rounds on the internet), how the “cricket-craze” in the sub-continent is not reasonable, because the real heroes are doctors and farmers -- we all should pay heed to his wise words and attempt to fathom the sentiment behind his statement.
So, at the end of the day, we understand that it is just a game. And to display maturity and some degree of class in the heat of the moment, under unimaginable pressure (to win) goes a long way in “just a game” settings.
This long way, coming back to Sunday’s final, would have meant a smaller number of Virat Kohli haters.
Isn’t that a wonderful thing? To have a smaller number of haters, or, ideally, no hater in the first place? Because, not only did Kohli’s gesture revive the meme game online, the internet exploded.
Arrogance is not a pre-requisite of undisputed talent. There is no rule or law in the land that says arrogance is the unwarranted passenger on one’s journey to success.
There have been cricket legends who played for the same team as Kohli, before his time, and who did not fail to show common courtesy in the field.
Then came the “oh look, how courteous Kohli is off-field with his opponents” and “there is nothing wrong with his arrogance because he is one of the best cricketers.”
Great players have come and gone, and our team is not impeccable on the field either, but to not “fuss over” Kohli’s curious gesture when Rahim’s wicket fell, is to say: Hey, you can do strange things, make offensive gestures, and it will all be tossed out the window as part of the “competitive nature” of the game, all in good spirit.
I beg to differ.
Again, talent or quality performance in any profession should not mean that the individual defaults to arrogance in the heat of the moment or under pressure -- maybe because basic etiquette is key to being a class player, you know the kind the world considers Virat Kohli to be.
Nusmila Lohani is an Editorial Assistant at the Dhaka Tribune.