Cricket fans were quick to react when the Indian captain Virat Kohli was “casually” dressed in shorts when the coin was being tossed in a practice match against Australia XI.
“Show some respect to the game which gave you everything please and rewind with this picture in front of you when you ask others to leave the country,” one of the comments read.
The BCCI twitter handle was flooded with other such messages. The opposing Australian captain Sam Whiteman did come in full whites.
Speaking exclusively to this reporter, the match-referee, Steve Bernard said, “Regarding Virat’s attire for the toss, only he can answer your question. Normally captains are dressed in their whites for the toss. Because this match lost its first class status the night before its start, he may have thought full dress was not required.”
Former India cricketer and twice Indian coach Anshuman Gaekwad, said. “The BCCI should introduce a policy whereby all captains have whites or blazer at the toss in all matches.”
In a similar vein, India’s former wicket keeper-batsman Farokh Engineer said, “It’s okay if it was a practice game but the ICC should ask players to ensure all captains have blazers at the toss in all international matches.”
“Virat Kohli is a big name in India and whatever he does is being noticed by all but is not accountable,” says Nari Contractor, former Indian cricket captain, adding, “In our time (in sixties) the two captains used to discuss before the toss whether to wear a blazer or not. As a captain though, I did not wear a blazer in all matches but having a blazer is a dignified way of showing respect.”
Former India captain Saurav Ganguly has his own views on this but chose to keep mum. “I have my own views but want to keep them to myself. I don’t want to comment on this as it will be another controversy in Indian cricket. There is enough controversy already in Indian cricket,” he said from Kolkata.
Gautam Gambhir and Dilip Vengsarkar too remained non-committal on the subject. The MCC is the custodian of the laws of the game.
Talking about the issue, Jonny Singer, Advisor, Laws of Cricket at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said from London, “There is nothing in the laws that regulate what a captain must wear during the toss. As for an ICC protocol, that is not within our remit, but I do not know of any competition which stipulates such a dress code.”
“Dumping down on blazers is just an example of changing modern life. There are, however, oases of proper decorum. I umpire a lot of public school and university cricket in which the wearing of blazers is standard at the toss, in addition to at the lunch and tea tables,” Martin Briggs, an umpire in England, said.