Cricket has taken a backseat for the moment. More than the game, the showdown between rival captains — Virat Kohli and Tim Paine — is getting more traction than anything else as the controversy refuses to die down. Australia coach Justin Langer though doesn’t want to read too much into it. “I thought it was brilliant. As the two captains and they’re trying to stamp their authority on the game and I don’t think at any point there was any abuse or any real aggression to it,” Langer was quoted as telling Fox Sports by news agency PTI.
Langer said it was bit of humour. “In fact there was a bit of humour and there’s been a lot of talk about banter. There’s got to be some in a Test match. It’s a great part of the game, and there was actually a bit of humour, a bit of Aussie humour as well. That’s what we pride ourselves on — we’ve got a bad reputation in a lot of ways, but when there’s a bit of humour in it I thought it was a good exchange,” Langer was quoted.
Queried whether both the captains were almost in each other’s physical space, Langer said it was all part of theatrics. “I think the days of Dennis Lillee and Javed Miandad are gone. I think Andrew Symonds did it to a spectator one day, it was one of the best shirt-fronts you’ve ever seen in your life, but I can’t ever imagine that in the environment we’re now in with so many cameras,” the Aussie coach said.
“It’d be absolutely silly for that to happen. That’s not cricket. They (Paine and Kohli) got close, but in a lot of ways it’s not a contact sport. We get that, but it was all part of that theatre of Test cricket and I didn’t see anything malicious in that,” Langer said.