Last summer, bantering from behind the stumps had brought both India and Australia in the headlines during a four-match Test series played Down Under. Australian wicketkeeper-captain Tim Paine and his Indian counterpart Rishabh Pant targeted each other as well as players from the opponent camp during the series. The umpires stepped in to caution both sides but it was never out of control. The sledging was limited to light jokes.
Not so much in the ongoing Ashes in England. On Day 3 of the final match at the Oval on Saturday, the rivalry came out in the open with banter, sledges and talking being thrown around. England all-rounder Ben Stokes apparently overheard calling Australian batsman David Warner “a f***ing p***k” while Paine is suspected of having called the England cricketer “Bristol”, taunting him over the brawl at a nightclub he had found himself in 2017. The incident had put Stokes’ career under cloud, albeit temporarily.
Another Australian cricketer Matthew Wade was also in the news for his constant chirping which even saw the umpire reprimanding him and slapping him on his wrist. The Baggy Green captain, however, was not too bothered and said it was all part of the game.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell was not impressed with the visitors’ conduct on the ground though. The 75-year-old called the constant sledging the “greatest load of rubbish” and he advised the umpires to handle things with more authority.
‘Time the bloody umpires intervened’
“It’s about time the bloody umpires intervened,” Australia sports television programme Sports Sunday quoted Chappell as saying.
“Every time I read it’s part of the game I think it’s the greatest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard. The batsman is entitled to peace and quiet when he’s out there batting.” Targeting Wade over his antics, Chappell said: “If I’m a batsman, I’m not putting up with that.
The Australian cricketer criticised umpire Kumar Dharmasena after an appeal by his team was turned down and Chappell even said that if the umpires didn’t stop Wade, the batsman would do so.
The veteran refused to agree that sledging is a part of the game and said all parties concerned – administrators, players, coaches, umpires – to be more vigilant and assertive with the way they handle situations on the ground.
“Administrators, players, umpires, coaches the whole lot (say) ’it’s all part of the game’. It’s not part of the game. It’s a load of bollocks,” the former Australian captain added.
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