'Cricket no more a gentleman’s game' - Kapil Dev rues the on-field spat in U19 World Cup final

‘Cricket no more a gentleman’s game’ – Kapil Dev rues the on-field spat in U19 World Cup final

Another former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin also slammed the incident and put the blame on the support staff for not doing their bit to rein in the junior players.

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

In 1983, he had given India their first World Cup in history. As underdogs, Kapil’s Devils had humbled the mighty West Indies by 43 runs at the iconic Lord’s to also gift Asia their first-ever world crown. The 61-year-old legendary all-rounder, whose captaincy had changed the course of cricket in the country, was left pained to see the final of another World Cup, albeit in the juniors’ section, leading to a fracas between the players of the two finalists tainting the ‘Gentleman’s Game’.

The cricketers of India U19 and Bangladesh U19 teams engaged in an ugly quarrel on the turf in Potchefstroom in South Africa after the Tiger colts won their first-ever world championship beating four-time champions India by three wickets in a thrilling final. The scenes of the players lashing out at each other instead of leaving a goodwill gesture left the cricketing world shocked.

On Thursday, Kapil described the scenes that unfolded in South Africa last Sunday as “horrible” and rued that the game no more belonged to the gentlemen. He also urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take a strong action against those who were found at fault. “Who’s saying cricket is a gentleman’s game? It’s not the gentleman’s game, it was!” NDTV Sports cited agencies quoting Kapil, who also relieved memories of his team’s World Cup win three decades ago, as saying at an event.

Two Indian players — Akash Singh and star spinner Ravi Bishnoi — and three Bangladeshi ones — Mohammad Towhid Hridoy, Shamim Hossain and Rakibul Hasan — were found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct after they nearly came to blows following a highly competitive game.

India were bowled out for 177 from an advantageous position and then Bishnoi’s four-wicket burst brought India dramatically back into the game before Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali pulled it through with a cool head.

Take steps to save tomorrow, says Kapil Dev

“What happened between those young people I think it was horrible. The cricket boards should take hard steps today so that tomorrow these type of mistakes do not happen,” Kapil said.

“You lost the match, you have no right to go back to the ground and fight with anybody. Come back. You should give more blame to the captain, manager and the people who were sitting outside. Sometimes, if you are an 18-year-old boy, he doesn’t understand. But if you’re a manager, that’s your responsibility to take care of the situation,” he said.

Ali apologised for the “unfortunate incident” later while Indian captain Priyam Garg felt the episode could have been avoided. Another former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin also slammed the incident and put the blame on the support staff for not doing their bit to rein in the junior players.

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