~~Sledging Aussies are not liked around the world~~

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2003, 22:41 [IST]
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Melbourne: Australia's win-at-all-cost cricketers had a bad reputation and were not liked in the cricket world, International Cricket Council president Malcolm Gray said on Wednesday. Gray, a former chairman of the Australian Cricket Board (ACB), said some of the players' behaviour was ugly and over the odds and it was up to the ACB to develop a change in culture within the team. Fast bowler Glenn McGrath has been widely condemned in Australia for his mid-pitch rant at West Indian batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan during the fourth Test in Antigua last week. The images of McGrath finger-pointing and screaming at Sarwan had letter-writers and talk-back callers back home calling for his head, while the ACB chief executive James Sutherland criticised his behaviour. Gray said the match umpires should have taken "sterner action" over the McGrath incident and other on-field clashes. The ICC chief said it was up to the ACB to introduce a cultural change to prevent a repeat of the clashes seen in the West Indies. "ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and I were in Europe so we didn't see it, but from all of the reports we got it appeared to both of us that the behaviour of the players was quite over the odds," Gray said. "It's something that we don't want in the sport and that in those circumstances, greater action and more sterner action should have been taken." Umpires David Shepherd and Srinivas Venkataraghavan laid no reports in the McGrath- Sarwan confrontation and Gray said Speed would review tapes of the matches. "He will review them but at this stage I don't know what action, if any, will be taken, but I suspect there won't be further action," he said. Gray said sledging and spats were occurring too regularly in cricket and that Australia was a world leader. Asked if Australia had a bad reputation around the world, he said, "Definitely, no doubt... Australians are not liked around the world. The messages we were getting was that the Australian public and the Australian press felt it was way over the top ... this time the Australian people believed the actions were beyond the pale." Gray said it was an umpire's job to hose down any flare-ups on the field. But he said the ACB and other world bodies should also play a part. "In terms of process it is an ICC matter, in other words the umpires, referees and so forth," he said. "However in terms of the longer-term problem, it really is up to the national bodies to develop within their teams a change in culture." Copyright AFP 2001

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