Once tagged as the mighty, invincible or daunting for their dominating and ruthless style of play, Australian cricket team were a sight to behold on the cricket field. However, a lot has changed over the last few months in Australian cricket since the ball-tampering scandal broke and changed the whole dynamics of the sport in the region. Ahead of the much-awaited series between India and Australia – South African captain Faf Du Plessis offered some free advice to the hosts (Aussies) that it’s not a good idea to rile up India captain Virat Kohli.
Since the ball-tampering saga, Australia have clearly toned down their approach which has also effected their brand of cricket in the recent times. Coach Justin Langer and Test skipper Tim Paine have both pledged to change the win-at-all-costs culture that was rampant when Australian players tried to cheat in Cape Town this year. Meanwhile,
Australia have been known for mentally disintegrating opposition players while sledging and on-field aggression was part of their culture over the years. “There are guys like that in international cricket (who enjoy the confrontation). We feel like that when we play against someone like Virat Kohli. He’s a similar character, he wants to get into the fight,” the 34-year old du Plessis said in a chat with cricket.com.au.
After leading South Africa to an ODI seires victory, Du Plessis also revealed about Proteas tactics to avoid on-field confrontations with Indian captain, considering his ability to thrive in such situations. He said they were able to contain Kohli from scoring truckloads of runs with their “silent treatment”.
He added: “There are one or two guys in each team around the world that we as a team discuss before playing against them. We’re like, ‘better not say too much to him because you’ll get him going’.
“He’s an amazing player. We gave him the silent treatment and he still scored runs in South Africa, but we felt like it was not huge runs – he scored the one hundred there in Centurion when the wicket was slow.
“So every team will have what they think works – for us, that was silent treatment.”
The ball-tampering scandal followed by the Cricket Australia Culture Review has not just put pressure on the players but also on the apex body of cricket in the country. Their attempt to alter the ball with sandpaper rocked the game, led to bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and saw a clean-out of executives at Cricket Australia.
Du Plessis, who once referred to the Australians as being “like a pack of wild dogs”, said he revelled in the confrontation and urged them not to totally abandon traits that had brought them so much success.
“I’ve always believed that you must never take away your uniqueness as a strength. If your strength is to be in guys’ faces, then you must use that,” he said.
“Obviously there’s laws now where you can’t cross that line, but if you’re a personality that requires that to get the best out of yourself and therefore perform the best for the team, then by all means do that within the boundaries that are allowed.