Former Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell sparked controversy as he scrutinized New Zealand‘s display of sportsmanship during Virat Kohli‘s cramping incident in the ODI World Cup 2023 semi-final against India in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday, November 15.
Virat Kohli’s herculean effort and assistance from New Zealand
Kohli, achieving his historic 50th ODI century, grappled with cramps in the latter part of his innings. The Mumbai heat took its toll, leading Kohli to momentarily go down, where Kiwi players extended assistance, even picking up Kohli’s bat.
Simon O’Donnell criticizes New Zealand’s gesture to Kohli
O’Donnell voiced his concerns, contending that aiding an opponent, especially one in such good form, could be perceived as contrary to the competitive spirit of the game. He emphasized that allowing Kohli to independently manage his cramps would have adhered more closely to the spirit of the game.
“I had a problem a couple of times last night. Virat Kohli gets cramp, they’re heading for 400 and blokes go over and help him. Why would you go and help Virat Kohli when he had a cramp? When they’re heading for 400. In a World Cup Semi-Final. Spirit of the game is playing within the laws. Virat Kohli is tearing your country apart and you want to go over and give him a hand,” O’Donnell was quoted as saying by The Times Of India.
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O’Donnell demands a more competitive approach from New Zealand
O’Donnell further criticized New Zealand for seemingly contributing to Kohli’s milestone, suggesting that a more competitive approach might have been preferable.
“He threw his bat away and one of the Kiwis went and picked it up. Go and pick your own bat up while you’ve got a sore hamstring and a cramp. Stop hitting us for sixes and fours. That’s not a big deal. That’s not outside the spirit of the game. It’s being competitive and saying, ‘Ok, he’s being physically challenged, why are we assisting him to stay physically ok to belt the crap out of us? I don’t get it, I just don’t get it. Stuff helping him out, he’s made 50 One-Day hundreds, why help him make the 50th against you in a World Cup Semi-Final? Give me a spell,” the 60-year-old concluded.
India’s triumph and Mohammad Shami’s heroics
Kohli’s noteworthy innings of 117, laced with nine fours and two sixes, significantly contributed to India’s commanding total of 397/4. This, combined with Mohammad Shami‘s remarkable seven-wicket haul during New Zealand’s innings, ultimately secured India’s victory by a margin of 70 runs and propelled them into the final of the World Cup.