Former India cricketer VVS Laxman on Saturday said that Australia coach Justin Langer should focus on playing aggressive cricket rather than worrying about Virat Kohli’s animated celebrations. Laxman’s reactions came a day after Langer, in an interview to Fox, said that Australian cricketers will be called as “worse blokes in the world” if they celebrated the way Kohli does after every wicket.
Speaking in a chat show on ESPNcricinfo, the former Indian batsman said, “I feel they got it wrong – the Australian coach and the Australian team. When you are playing for your country, you have to play with pride and passion. You are not there to impress the spectators or trying to be the good boys. You have to play in a hard manner. Virat celebrates in that fashion – but what Justin Langer should be talking about is playing aggressive cricket. It’s not about celebration but about showing your intent, your positiveness, in the way you bat, the way you field, the way you take wickets.”
The 47-year-old further said that Australia should focus more on playing positive cricket. “You should be concentrating on asking the batsmen to bat with the positive mindset and intent that we have seen over the years with Australian batsmen. Scoring at 2 runs per over is something I have not seen with Australia since the time I have followed international cricket.”
He further added that Kohli has not done anything wrong, and his antics should not be compared to ball tampering incident in Cape Town. “Yes, what happened in Cape Town was not right, they crossed the line. But it was something to do with ball tampering. Neither did Virat sledge, neither he used abusive language – that’s the way he celebrates. If I was Justin Langer, I would tell the team forget about celebration, or what the opposition team is doing. You focus on being the best Australian cricketer you can be. Go out there and play with the conviction that you can score runs quickly. You can score runs against any opposition, show that in your body language, show that with your positive intent, and forget about what is happening off the field,” the former right-handed batsman said.
Laxman added that Australia should not focus on changing their image but on winning Test series. “You cannot please people- I don’t know why they are trying to change their image. The only way you can change the image is by winning Test series. And that’s what the Australian public is waiting for – to see this team play like the great teams of the yesteryears,” he said.
In the same chat show, former fellow Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar agreed with Laxman and said Langer should not put Kohli’s celebrations on the same pedestal as the ball tampering incident. “I feel sometimes Virat is over the top but he is consistent with it. Whether, that’s the way he is, then it is the call of the match officials whether he is over the top or not. I understand with the reputation that Australia is trying to mend after what happened in South Africa – but can you equate that with Virat, I am not sure it is the right thing to do,” he said.
In reply to India’s 250, Australia were bowled out for 235 in the first innings of the first Test in Adelaide on Day 3.