Kapil Dev, the former captain of the Indian cricket team, expressed his disappointment and concern over the heated verbal altercation between Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir during IPL 2023. He described the incident as painful to witness and called upon the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to focus on nurturing players to become better citizens, thus preventing such unsavoury incidents in the future.
The clash occurred after an IPL match between Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on May 1. During the game, emotions ran high as Kohli and LSG cricketer Naveen-ul-Haq engaged in a heated exchange, which continued even after the match ended, with Kohli and Gambhir nearly coming to blows.
Kapil Dev sees the IPL as both advantageous and potentially harmful
In an interview with The Week magazine, Kapil Dev candidly shared his views on the incident involving Gambhir and Kohli. He expressed his dismay at the behaviour of the two high-profile players, given Kohli’s stature as one of the world’s top batsmen and Gambhir’s position as a Member of Parliament.
Highlighting that Gambhir and Kohli have had past on-field disagreements, Kapil Dev emphasized that such incidents strain relationships and negatively impact the spirit of sportsmanship.
“They (BCCI) have to groom players to be good citizens also. What happened between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in the IPL, it was painful for me. My two most important people – Virat Kohli, one of the top batters in the world; Gambhir is now a member of Parliament – how can they behave in such a manner? But sportsmen do lose their mind, from Pele to Don Bradman to all people,” he said.
Besides addressing the Kohli-Gambhir spat, Kapil Dev delved into the impact of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Indian cricket. While acknowledging the league’s positive contributions, he raised concerns about its potential to pamper players, potentially affecting their commitment to international cricket.
Kapil Dev stressed the importance of players taking care of themselves amidst the demanding schedule and emphasized the need for better planning and balanced calendars by the cricket board. Shifting focus to India’s current tour of the West Indies, Kapil Dev noted that the team suffered a loss in the second ODI and would be aiming to clinch the series in the upcoming decider on August 1.
In conclusion, Kapil Dev’s candid shed light on the need for responsible conduct among players, better management of cricketing schedules, and a focus on promoting sportsmanship for the betterment of Indian cricket.