Former Indian cricketer and well-known cricket analyst Aakash Chopra has slammed the Australian media for portraying Team India in a bad light and questioning their professionalism over their unwillingness to travel to Brisbane for the fourth Test next week.
All drama started after a reported breach of bio-bubble protocols after five Indian players visited a restaurant in Melbourne. They were then placed in isolation and an investigation by Cricket Australia found that there was no serious breach of the protocols, but since then, the Australian media has been constantly targeting the tourists.
Well, the Australian media has got another golden chance to target India when the reports emerged that the tourists are not ready to travel to Brisbane for the final Test due to strict restrictions at NSW.
Even, the PTI has reported that the BCCI also wrote to Cricket Australia seeking relaxation in hard quarantine protocol of Brisbane for the Gabba Test to go ahead, reminding them that the Indian players have already done the strict isolation that was agreed upon at the beginning of the tour.
But the Australian media is portraying the matter in a different way, claiming Team Indian don’t want to go to Brisbane, not because of quarantining, but because Australia has never lost a Test at The Gabba since 1988.
Chopra wasn’t really pleased with the mind games the media has been playing, saying they even did the same mental disintegration last time when India had toured Australia in 2018-19 and won the historic Test series 2-1.
Describing the Aussie media as the “12th man”, Chopra said that the Australia media is creating an image as if the Indian cricket team is “chickening out” of the Brisbane Test, as well, as the tourists fear from playing at a grassy pitch of The Gabba keeping in mind Australia’s record at the venue.
Chopra said on his Youtube channel: “I saw it during the last tour as well that mental disintegration is practiced in Australia. When Australia lost the Adelaide Test last time, coach Justin Langer spoke to the media that this is a team of ‘bad boys’ and they ‘bully’ the other team.”
He further added, “I was like ‘bully calling a bully, what are you doing?’. Then after they won the Perth Test, the media created a buzz that India cannot win in Perth. Now a similar atmosphere is being built at Gabba that this Indian team cannot win at Gabba.
I feel that the Indian team is better placed if the match takes place at Gabba because if we do a man-to-man marking, and if Steve Smith does not score runs, the weight is tilted towards the Indian side. It is the Australian team who should think about playing on a different surface, on a quicker pitch.
But the atmosphere has been created that the Indian team does not want to play in Gabba and they are ‘chickening out’ because they are scared of the grass on Gabba surface.”
Slamming the Australian media, the commentator further noted: “This is very typical of Australian media and this is how they behave. They became the 12th man. It happened during the last tour as well. They would leak a small video clip of how Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma are arguing, and the stump mic caught some abusive exchanges between the players.
He continued, “I mean how the media got hold of these clips? This is the whole system that is in place that a media story will come out, then former players will start speaking about it.
The former players, on the last tour, started speaking in unison that this Indian team is really ill-mannered team, but they were tasting their own medicine.”
Chopra further questioned: “Why was sledging between the players made into a national issue? I remember there was front-page news that said ‘Indian team is in disarray’ because there is a divide in the team. It was another example of blowing things out of proportion by the Australian media, and they actually played the role of the 12th man for their side. Is this happening all over again?”
He signed off by saying, “The atmosphere that has been created around the Brisbane Test reminds me of what has happened in Australia over the years where media, former players, and current players because they are asked such questions - and they all gang up together against the oppositions and this is what they do, and maybe the same thing is happening again.”
(With Hindustan Times/PTI Inputs)