Amidst the much talked about ‘mask incident’ during the second day of the third Test between India and Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, former India captain Sourav Ganguly has raised some serious questions over the sportsmanship spirit of current Sri Lankan cricketers.
All the Sri Lankan players were spotted wearing an anti-pollution mask during the post-lunch session. In fact, at one point in time, the game was halted for nearly half an hour as the visiting cricketers cited uneasiness due to poor air quality caused by smog.
Talking to India Today, Ganguly said that he is concerned about the entire saga and wondered if it was to break the concentration of Indian captain Virat Kohli, who was looking all set to notch up his maiden triple ton in Test cricket.
"Virat Kohli and the team management saw that the game is going away from their hands, they are losing time and they declared. Virat lost his concentration, the purpose of the game and got out,” said the ‘Prince of Kolkata’.
“But when they (Sri Lanka) came out to bat, I didn't see any mask on all of those five batsmen who were at the crease. Nobody had the mask and if you look at the pavilion they were sitting in, there was no mask either. So, I don't know how everything changed in such a quick time. If Gamage and Lakmal were running it with a mask, even Angelo Mathews was running for ones and twos. It's the same thing. What surprised me is that they never complained, wore the mask or made a show off it. That's the worrying bit and I hope the intentions were not bad," he added.
Ganguly further asserted that if the visitors can actually compete with Virat Kohli’s troops on current form. The 45-year-old also added that India will win the match and thereby the series with utmost ease.
"It will be an absolute mockery of Test cricket. India were dominating. India beat them at Nagpur, India will beat them here. But if you have to slow down a Test match progress like this, it's very sad for cricket. Sri Lanka have the history of producing some fantastic cricketers and great cricket. They have never beaten India (in India) since the time they have started playing Test cricket,” opined Ganguly.
“Look at the records, whether it is Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, they still haven't beaten India. This is probably the weakest Sri Lankan team to tour India and to see this sort of a behaviour was not very good but I hope I am wrong," he further remarked.
On being asked about the match and Kohli, Dada said that it's amazing to see the Indian captain play in such a ruthless fashion.
"Remarkable. It has been a fantastic year for him. His performance in the last 17 months has been fantastic. Every cricketer goes through purple patch. I've seen Rahul Dravid go through it from 2001 to 2004, Sachin Tendulkar and other cricketers around world cricket have gone through this phrase. The best part of Virat Kohli is that he is making the most of it. When the time is good, he is in form, he doesn't let it go. Whatever is the attack, he just keeps making runs, he just worries about scoring runs and making big runs. That's a huge attribute to his cricketing aspect. There's no doubt about his ability, his performances," Ganguly said.
"He is just a great player...a modern day great. I never compare generations but he has been superb in the last 17 months in all formats of the game," he concluded.