SuperSport spark India’s wrath

Virat Kohli (Gallo Images)
Virat Kohli (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – South African television broadcaster SuperSport has fallen foul of coach Duncan Fletcher and others in the Indian cricket team management over repeat coverage of the “rib-tickler” star batsman Virat Kohli received from Proteas strike bowler Dale Steyn.

But they have since defended their stance.

The on-field incident happened during the first one-day international at the Wanderers last week, although it was rescreened during SuperSport’s live coverage of the eventually abandoned third and final clash at Centurion on Wednesday.

Writer Neil Manthorp – who doubles as a TV commentator himself – has reported on Wisden India's website that during the closing fixture the Indian management were “offended” by the rerun of Kohli copping a delivery in the ribs on the lively Bullring track.

Also shown again was footage of Kohli later clutching an ice pack to the blow on the dressing room balcony, and then rehearsing the pull stroke during a net session.

An accompanying caption to the sequence apparently read: “Kohli – softened up.”

Manthorp wrote that SuperSport’s broadcast director was summoned to the Indian changing room during the innings break at Centurion – play never eventually resumed as the rain set in – and an “explanation” was demanded.

The SuperSport representative defended the coverage on the grounds of “editorial relevance”, but this did not pacify the Indian management who accused them of “inappropriate behaviour” and “disrespect”.

It is not at all uncommon for television broadcasters worldwide to repeat footage of batsmen being struck, given that such skirmishes with fired-up fast bowlers are part and parcel of the game.

Nor was there any particularly unpalatable “blood and gore” factor in the Kohli incident: in fact, the batsman commendably did his level best to persevere unflinchingly, and hit some counter-punching boundaries before his exit for 31 in the heavy defeat.

SuperSport communications manager Clinton van der Berg told Sport24: “I’m not sure what SuperSport did wrong.

We are in the business of producing good television.

“We reflected what occurred, and there was a genuine storyline there.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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