The first verbal salvo of India’s series in England has been fired. England fast bowler David Willey has accused India’s players of not competing within the spirit of the game, pointing to instances of Indian bowlers repeatedly pulling out of their delivery strides during the first T20I at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Willey was particularly miffed by the way fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar stopped in his delivery stride during the last over of the English innings.
Even Kuldeep Yadav had resorted to similar tactics while bowling to England opener Jos Buttler.
“I’m guessing, but I think he (Bhuvneshwar) was looking to see what I was going to do,” Willey told the reporters.
“They did that a few times. The spinners did it a couple of times. I’m not sure what the rules are on that.
“I don’t particularly like it. I don’t think it is necessarily in the spirit of cricket.
“It’s not my job to comment on that too much on what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Personally, I don’t think I’d do that. I don’t think it is great.”
After engaging in a bit of confrontation with Kumar, Willey added, “They have a few fiery characters and that is part and parcel of cricket.”
“It has gone on for years. I don’t mind a bit of confrontation. I have had my fair share of it in the past. If it comes my way I am quite happy to get involved.”
On the other hand India batsman KL Rahul, who scored a ton in the match, came out in defence of his teammates. In his opinion such practices should be allowed in T20s.
“It will frustrate me as a batsman, it did I guess frustrate the English batsmen but the margin for error for bowlers in T20 cricket is very little so whatever tactics they can come up with and whatever they try to do to upset the batsmen is only fair,” Rahul said.
“You know you can do it as a bowler, you can run a batsman out, he was taking few strides too many and it is a long boundary and if he gets that much start he can keep rotating the strike and keep getting two runs which will frustrate the bowler in return, so it’s only fair.”