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
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
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