Sunil Gavaskar feels that only stricter rules can prevent players from intimidating each other verbally. Speaking to NDTV, the former India captain felt that the recent incidents in the first Ashes Test between Australia and England do not reflect the true spirit of the game.
"Fines and bans need to be enforced on players crossing the line on the field," he said. Gavaskar also pointed out that 'it's all part of the game' cliche did not apply when it came to verbal abuse. "I don't buy the argument that verbal duels are a part of playing cricket. At least it did not play any part of the cricket that I played," said the veteran of 125 Tests.
The Ashes series has plunged into controversy with the Australian and English players having a go at each other during and after the Brisbane match last week. England coach Andy Flower eventually offered a truce which was not agreed upon by the Aussies.
Gavaskar believes that authorities need to be tough on players to check the needless banter. "The umpires and match referees need to be tough to control banter. Once they are clear on what is right and wrong, things will fall into place," he said.
Gavaskar is also upset that such controversies take the focus away from the cricket field. He maintains that such incidents take priority over individual performances. "These controversies have taken away the focus from all the good cricket played. No one asks how much David Warner scored or how well Mitchell Johnson bowled. Instead what is making headlines is all the verbals and all the abuses that you hear, and that is certainly not cricket."