If it’s Sydney, there has to be trouble. And it has to involve Andrew Symonds, it seems. ICC match referee Jeff Crowe on Monday fined Ishant Sharma 15 per cent of his match fee for his spat with the Australian all-rounder during Sunday’s clash. Within a few hours, the Indian team management sent out a strong letter to Crowe, complaining that the Aussies were the ones who were provoking the Indians.
<b1>What has really been surprising — and a matter of debate among cricket fans back home — is that Crowe chose to call only Ishant for the disciplinary hearing. He chose not to call Symonds who, TV replays showed, exchanged words with Ishant soon after the latter dismissed him.
Ishant was fined for gesturing towards the dressing-room after bowling Symonds out.
The Indian team in their letter held some Aussie players responsible for provoking them. “Even if we have tried to play in the spirit of the game… some of the players from the Australian side have made a few comments that has brought disharmony to the game,” Bimal Soni, India team manager, wrote.
The letter listed instances where the Australians taunted the Indians. “Despite all these incidents we have no intent of lodging an official complaint with the ICC,” the letter said. This indicated that the team wanted to get on with the game unlike the previous instance a month ago in Sydney when the racism charge against Harbhajan almost led to a pullout. The episode, again involving Symonds, had led to a truce and both sides had promised to behave.
The letter asked Crowe to “take up the matter with Cricket Australia”.
Australian coach Tim Nielsen, in his response, said, “We know where the line in the sand is.” Instead of worrying about Australia’s behaviour, India should focus on their own performance, he said.