An Australian newspaper has published data that appears to show that India has been the world’s worst-behaved cricket team over the past decade, and Sourav Ganguly the game’s premier rogue.
In a commentative report headlined ‘Bad Boys’, The Sunday Telegraph published what it said were official ICC figures, showing that India had been charged 43 times since 1997, ahead of Pakistan (39 offences) and South Africa (27). Australia, according to the paper, come in only at number 4, having been charged 25 times.
The offences include intimidating umpires, abusing rivals, ball tampering, time wasting and dissent, the paper said. It described Ganguly as cricket’s “undisputed problem child”, having been “hauled over the coals a record 12 times” in his career.
“Of the present touring party, five have copped fines or suspensions — Ganguly, Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag and Harbhajan,” the report said. It added, “The rap sheet is evidence the Indians are anything but cricketing choirboys as they continue to deny spinner Harbhajan is guilty of racially abusing all-rounder Andrew Symonds.”
Harbhajan, the report says, “has a history of poor conduct”, Sreesanth is “emerging as world cricket’s next bad boy”, and Dravid and Tendulkar, “seen as two of cricket’s most squeaky-clean figures, have both been caught ball tampering”.
Former India greats Kapil Dev, Erapalli Prasanna and Anshuman Gaekwad slammed the report. “For the last 40 years, India has been the best-behaved team on and off the field… As far as I know, the Australians were the first one to indulge in sledging in international cricket,” Kapil was quoted as saying by PTI.
Gaekwad described India as the “most cultured” and “most educated” team in the world. “Some of the teams are not so educated and it reflects on the field. These statistics don’t reflect the Indian team’s conduct.”
Prasanna said he was disappointed with the report. “I think the Aussies are talking through their hat,” PTI quoted him as saying.
People like Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Bob Woolmer have said the Australians do not get reported enough because umpires are intimidated by them. The Sunday Telegraph report itself quoted Michael Holding as saying: “I have seen a lot of all the teams and I don’t find India to be the worst, not at all.”