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Before the IPL began this time around in West Asia, and Chennai Super Kings found themselves in a tight corner after a rash of positive Covid-19 tests among them, Kohli it was who was got hold of to deliver a stern warning against violating coronavirus protocols.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

After the Indian Premier League final, Sourav Ganguly thanked the players for having put up with the psychological pressure the tournament’s bio-secure bubble would have caused. How the players felt about the Board of Control for Cricket in India chief’s kind words after weeks of claustrophobia was not allowed to be known, just as a lot that happened around cricket stayed under wraps.

But Indian captain Virat Kohli, moving out of the IPL cocoon and apprehending another spell of captivity in Australia ahead of a series of Twenty20s, One-Day Internationals and Tests, said the authorities should now start thinking seriously about the length of tours now that prolonged periods of confinement in strictly controlled shelters were part of the participatory experience in the game. In short, he would like the prison term to be shorter. And that was the wheel turning a full circle.

Before the IPL began this time around in West Asia, and Chennai Super Kings found themselves in a tight corner after a rash of positive Covid-19 tests among them, Kohli it was who was got hold of to deliver a stern warning against violating coronavirus protocols.

We were never told why the warning had been deemed essential but Kohli’s message, if gone back to now, would appear to suggest a certain official compulsion to make sure the IPL was not to fall apart because of some flippant liberty-taking by light-hearted adventurists unmindful of the consequences of their fecklessness. Completely absent from the lecture was any reference to the flip side of the matter: that sportsmen would always consider bio-secure bubbles incompatible with their normal, customary and fun-seeking lives off the field.

Kohli had spoken like a bureaucrat at the time, only to change his stance once he had himself been put through the wringer. And yes, to have to step out of one bubble only to be pushed into another was no joke but while Australia and England had several cricketers telling them of the mental stress implicit in living in isolation, India had their captain reading the Riot Act out to his peers for being entirely normally bonhomous, even if in circumstances that were extraordinary. Sport’s Covid-19 protocols have resulted from a basic reluctance to pause and ponder despite a raging, global pandemic since it cannot stop making money.

This is why Kohli, regardless of the extent of his power as India’s leading light, will secure very few endorsements of his opinion, or demand in the portals of power in the game.

If there is a lot of money in cricket, it certainly is because players sweat their blood. If everything, though, seems geared to officials’ needs, the game is in a chokehold it must throw off, with or without its big boys telling us the truth publicly. Consistency is of the essence.