Australia is one of the toughest places to tour as a cricketing nation. One of the main reasons is the hostile Australian media. They try to get under the skin of the visiting team and target some of the star attractions. There has been a history of instances where the Australian media has taken a direct dig at players from the visiting team.
The Indian team has had a long history with the Aussie media and there have been quite a few controversies. Post 2000, from the time when Sourav Ganguly took over, the Indian team has never been shy of giving it back and have hardly backed away from sledging, whether it’s in the media or during the game.
Thus, the Australian media has never had a great relationship with the Indian cricket team. In recent times, they’ve taken a dig at the Indian team directly more than a couple of times. Here are three instances from the recent past when the Australian media targeted the Indian team.
#3 Terming Virat Kohli as the ‘Donald Trump of world sport’ (2017)
Virat Kohli’s relation with the Australian media has never been all rosy, especially when the two teams are engrossed in a battle. During the four-match Test series in India in February and March last year, Australia managed to beat India comprehensively in the first Test in Pune.
However, India came back from behind to beat Australia in the second Test in Bengaluru. Steve Smith’s ‘brain fade’ moment of seeking help from the dressing room for DRS didn’t sit well with the Kohli and he was pretty vocal about it. However, Kohli’s frankness in the press conference didn’t go down well with the Australian media.
Hence after the third Test which Australia drew and quite a few mocks took place during the game, the Daily Telegraph’s first line of the report read, "Virat Kohli has become the Donald Trump of world sport".
The report claimed - "Test captains, under the rules of the game, are supposed to be the flag-bearers for upholding the spirit of the game, yet the ICC has allowed the Indian captain to destroy one of the foundations on which the game has been played for more than a century."
They further went onto to term the Indian skipper as classless and egomaniac.
#2 Mocking Kohli’s struggles in England (2018)
Virat Kohli has been a constant target of the Australian media in the last couple of years. 134 runs in 10 innings is one stat that was on everyone’s mind before the Test series between India and England started in the UK this year. Those were Kohli’s numbers when he toured England in 2014 and failed to score even a single half-century.
However, all the pre-series build-up was about Kohli and the chance to redeem himself. Just before the first Test was underway in Edgbaston, Fox Sports released a video from India’s last tour of England (in 2014). The video had Kohli edging the ball and Fox Sports captioned it as “Virat Kohli's favourite shot in England.” They mocked his past failures in England and the fact that he was dismissed seven times edging the ball to the slip cordon was brought to the forefront.
However, on that trip, Kohli let his bat do all the talking as he scored 593 runs which was 240 runs more than the next highest (349 runs by Jos Buttler). He averaged 59.30 in that 5-match Test series as he struck 2 hundreds and 3 fifties.
#1 Labelling India as 'The Scaredy Bats' (2018-19)
India’s much-anticipated tour of Australia has seen a topsy-turvy start. After losing the first T20I, rain played spoilsport in the second game before India drew level in the final T20I. Now, all eyes have shifted to the all-important Test series.
However, with only a few days to go for the first Test, a popular news tabloid took a classless dig at the Indian team. Respected Australian sports journalist, Richard Hinds, tweeted a photograph of the article which shows a picture of Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar with a couple of fans and the headline states, “The Scaredy Bats”.
Coming down heavily on the tabloid's classless dig, Hinds himself labelled the headline as 'childish' and urged the Australian media to shed their 'boorish tradition'.
According to reports, the article shows the fears India might have at the Australian venues. According to the story, it states that the Virat Kohli-led side are “scared of the bounce” at the Gabba which is currently regarded as the fastest pitch in Australia. Interestingly, there is no Test match scheduled to take place in Brisbane.
Then comes “scared of the unknown” in Perth as the new stadium makes its Test debut this series. And “scared of the dark” in Adelaide, which is the venue for the first Test. Since the 2015 summer, Adelaide has hosted a Day-Night Test every year. However, India refused to play one this year and hence, the last comment serves as a jibe at the visitors for refusing the pink-ball Test.