M.S. DHONI has told the Indian players not to react to ''aggressive'' spectators at the WACA Ground, saying Australian crowds have a habit of becoming verbally abusive in the afternoon when alcohol sets in.
Twice during India's tour, players have been photographed raising their middle finger at members of the public in retaliation to taunts. First, batsman Virat Kohli was fined half his match fee for a one-finger salute at the SCG last week, then paceman Ishant Sharma reacted in anger to comments made by locals as the team left a Perth go-kart venue on Monday.
As reported in the Herald this week, the tourists have asked for more rigorous security during the third Test. There has been a noticeable increase in security at the WACA Ground and staff have been told to be extra vigilant in dealing with rowdy spectators. The Indian players and officials have also been urged by security to report any poor behaviour.
But while Dhoni stands by his claims that some Australian fans go too far in their ribbing of visiting players, he has also instructed his team not to respond to any taunts.
''It's an interesting thing because you'll see, more often than not - I was having a chat with a few players about this - there's somebody who starts something and, more often than not, it's the retaliator who always gets punished,'' Dhoni said.
''We need to get smart about what needs to be done. I suppose a few gestures if we can avoid it, it's in our best interests, but usually you have to be smart to know what people are trying to do, and how you are reacting to a particular situation.''
Kohli claimed on Twitter last week that crowd members in Sydney had shouted vile comments about his mother and sister prior to his middle-finger reaction, saying it was the worst abuse he had heard. There were counter claims that spectators were instead taking him to task about the orange reflective sunglasses he wore while bowling, telling him he was not Mark Waugh. Kohli was apologetic afterwards but the issue has been a talking point in the Indian camp.
Dhoni said crowd members were generally well behaved, but often turned later in the day's play, as he said occurred in the Sydney Test.
''It depends if you're talking about a particular Test match,'' Dhoni said. ''What happens is everyone is fantastic in the morning but, what happens after the tea session, after a couple of barrels of beers, it gets a bit difficult,'' Dhoni said. ''You see the Aussie fans, they are a bit aggressive, they're quite verbal about it.''
Already 2-0 down in the Border-Gavaskar series, the captain does not want a repeat of the headlines about Indian player gestures to sour the rest of the tour. He is dissatisfied with crowd behaviour, but says his players must block out derogatory comments from beyond the boundary rope.
''It's something that you need to learn, as to how you interact with the fans,'' Dhoni said. ''These are the things that you learn, apart from … going on the field and proving yourself as cricketers.''