There's only one word to describe the behaviour of Australia’s cricketers on the last day of the Sydney Test against India: depressing.Actually, I say
There’s only one word to describe the behaviour of Australia’s cricketers on the last day of the Sydney Test against India: depressing.
Actually, I say ‘only one word’, but that’s not quite right. There are several words. We just can’t print most of them in the newspaper.
Let’s start with Steve Smith’s decision to rake his size nines on the crease where Rishabh Pant had marked his guard. That was plain childish. He’s trying to irritate the batsman.
Steve Smith was at the centre of more controversy three years after the ball tampering scandal
The stump camera picked up Smith appearing to scuff up the batsmen’s guard with his boots
But with all the cameras around these days, and Smith’s history with the sandpaper, you have to reach the conclusion that he can’t have two brain cells to rub together.
What was he thinking — if he was thinking anything at all?
If I’d been umpiring that game, I’d have gone straight to the captain to tell him that I’m reporting his player, and that he’s got to take responsibility for the behaviour of his team. Absolutely disgraceful.
I’ve said it before, but this seems like a good moment to repeat it: cricket has to get serious about ill discipline.
Australia captain Tim Paine (left) clashed with Indian batsman Ravi Ashwin (right)
The authorities have to introduce a yellow and red-card system that can be applied retrospectively.
With VAR in football, the game can be stopped and the officials can decide about foul play. So why can’t cricket do the same?
The match referee can look at the footage and say: ‘Sorry, Steve. You can’t behave like that. You’re missing the next game.’
But the authorities don’t want to know. They have this daft idea that what happens on the field should stay on the field. It makes me sad for cricket.
Paine had a barbed exchange with Ashwin that was picked up by the stump microphone
You do wonder what people will say about Smith in years to come. You never hear cricket fans say: ‘That Don Bradman, or that Garry Sobers, they could play a bit but they were a real idiot.’
With Smith, though, you get the feeling that these incidents are going to affect the way history regards him: a great batsman, sure, but incapable of behaving himself.
David Warner seems to have calmed down a bit since he got all giddy with the sandpaper in Cape Town, so why can’t Smith?
It’s up to Paine now to control his players, but first he has to set an example.
Put it like this: if someone had talked to me like he did to Ravichandran Ashwin, I’d have lost all respect for them.
Ashwin (left) and Hanuma Vihari batted India to an improbable draw at the SCG on Monday
The way he was carrying on behind the stumps left me flabbergasted.
I played the game for two decades, and sledging didn’t really exist. People go on about Ian Chappell and his Australia team, but what the likes of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson said to us was just banter. They never said anything that made me not want to have a beer with them after the game.
How can Ashwin want to share a drink with the Australians after Paine was trash-talking him the way he did?
You’d have thought the Australians would watch their Ps and Qs after that farce with the sandpaper. But they just don’t seem to learn.
What on earth is wrong with them?