In sport, there is always a fallout after a loss – players are blamed, conspiracy theories are cooked up, a whole plethora of reasons are found to take the focus of the media away from the team that suffered a defeat. Jose Mourinho, the current Manchester United manager, is a prime example of someone who does this well; while he doesn’t say anything factually incorrect, he makes sure his team can remain focused by taking the spotlight away from their performance.
However, sometimes, in a quest to do this, people go too far, breaching the line between fair and unfair.
We have seen one such incident after the second Test between India and England at Vizag. India won the hard fought contest fair and square, coming up trumps by 246 after 5 days of intense Test cricket. Virat Kohli had a number of things to celebrate about. Personally, he had scored the most number of runs in a Test by an Indian captain, and he had also registered his 14th Test century and continued his incredible run in 2016.
As for his team, they stretched their unbeaten streak to 15 games, stretching back to 2015. The plaudits were coming in thick and fast, and everyone was enjoying the moment.
That was until a British tabloid came up with claims about Virat Kohli tampering the ball during the first Test.
They have produced inconclusive evidence to show that Kohli used the residue of a sweet in his mouth to shine the ball. They have claimed that Kohli put his hands deep in his mouth, and then shined one side of the ball, thereby breaking the law.
Disturbing, I know. Particularly since this story appears only a couple of weeks after another ball tampering case from Australia – South African captain Faf du Plessis was found guilty of tampering in the second Test between Australia and South Africa in Hobart.
Du Plessis has been fined his entire match fees from the second Test but has been cleared to play the third Test for his team.
In Kohli's case, the claims appear to be very far-fetched as the images do not indicate anything conclusive. Further, Kohli's actions were not cited by the umpire or the match referee after the conclusion of the Test.
For the British tabloid, however, their claims seem to have backfired. Even before the news reached mainstream media in India, the fans in England were seen urging the tabloid to maintain their focus on the third Test that is scheduled to take place in Mohali.