Hogg downplays Kohli’s remarks

The biggest statement from the recently concluded India-Australia series came on Tuesday morning, when India skipper Virat Kohli made it clear that he no longer considers Australian cricketers as friends. His remarks, however, have come in for mixed responses from the cricketing fraternity.

Virat Kohli has made it clear that he no longer considers Australian cricketers as friends.   -  PTI

The four-Test series that concluded on Tuesday had enough emotions flowing from both the Indian and Australian camps. Be it the host losing its cool over Steven Smith’s DRS appeal in Bengaluru or the Australian skipper using the choicest words against Murali Vijay, calling him a cheat for claiming a catch in the final Test — the Border-Gavaskar Trophy had it all.

But perhaps, the biggest statement came on Tuesday morning, when India skipper Virat Kohli made it clear that he no longer considers Australian cricketers as friends. His remarks, however, have come in for mixed responses from the cricketing fraternity.

Sitting faraway in Perth, former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg said that the on-field emotions will not affect the ongoing relationship between the players. Speaking to Sportstar on Tuesday, the 46-year-old spinner indicated that the Indian captain should not take on-field tussles too seriously. “At the end of the day, the cricketers will play hard on the field and leave everything behind once they walk off the ground. Off the field, nothing will affect them. It is important that players spend time together, and get to know each other better, but when they cross that white line again, we can expect these fierce competitors to get one up on each other, both verbally and statistically — and that’s just great Test cricket,” Hogg said.

In his playing days, Hogg was considered a thorough team-man, who inspired team-mates by keeping them in good humour. During his stint with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League, too, Hogg was popular for his humour and jokes. “The IPL has actually helped international players develop strong relationships with Indian players. It’s a heat of a moment thing, the passion of sport and drive to succeed brings out the emotions, but all will be well again. Why hold grudges when we’ve seen the best series for a long time?” he remarked.

“I think both teams value the culture of cricket, and the friendships, and respect that white line,” Hogg said.

Admitting that the series was full of emotions, Hogg, however, gave a suggestion for both teams. “Today, both the captains must think of organising the next Test series soon, so that they can again face-off and show their strength. That should be the right attitude. There is no point in carrying the bitterness,” Hogg said.

Former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg says that the on-field emotions will not affect the ongoing relationship between the players.   -  K. R. Deepak

Hogg felt that the players showed too much emotion, because they were under pressure. “Not just Australia, even India showed too much emotion. When players show emotions, you need to understand that they are under pressure. And, that’s why the emotions flow. The people watching the series must have also realised that the players gave more than 100 percent effort on the field. That’s definitely a good thing for Test cricket, it makes a fantastic environment,” the spinner said.

Even as Australia lost the series in Dharamsala, the former cricketer was extremely happy with the way Smith led the Australian side. The skipper slammed three centuries in the series, but time and again found himself in the middle of controversies. “He (Steve Smith) is a fantastic captain, a great leader. Look at his record. When someone scores three centuries in a series, that speaks volumes,” Hogg pointed out.

The fact that the visiting team actually won a Test match in the series, too, impressed the former cricketer. “This series should be remembered for a long time for the way both the teams delivered the goods on the field. It was a hard-fought series, where the Australians, too, played some solid cricket. They haven’t had the culture of winning Tests in the sub-continent, but this Australian team actually went on to win the first Test in Pune,” he said.

“Even though India had the final laugh, Smith’s team should be given full credit for playing so well in the sub-continent. When the series started, not many expected the Aussies to hold fort, but they actually played some tremendous cricket.”

In the past, he had been part of some intriguing Test series, but Hogg was of the view that the just-concluded series was the best advertisement for Test cricket. “In the end, it has been a great series of cricket. There were cases when the decisions could have been questioned, but even then, the teams followed the law of the game. No matter what people say, I don’t think the players’ integrity could be questioned,” Hogg said while making it clear that small errors and sentimental effusions are a part of any high-voltage series.

It’s not for nothing that they called Hogg a pucca team-man!