Australia's captain Michael Clarke (L) shakes hands with Mahendra Singh Dhoni after Australia won the first cricket Test match, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. REUTERS Photo
The namaste is passé. The middle-finger salute has become the new greeting of choice for Indians in Australia, or so the locals believe. A day after Ishant Sharma followed Virat Kohli with his finger pointing, the jokes just kept on coming.
A respected Australian journalist greeted the Indian media contingent with the middle-finger salute.
"Isn't that the traditional Indian greeting?” he asked wryly. To which a few in the Indian bunch replied, "Well, it was taught to them by one of your own," referring to former coach Greg Chappell, who flashed the middle finger while boarding the team bus after he was heckled.
Then came the jokes. Fast food chain KFC is one of the major sponsors of Australian cricket, "It's finger licking good," goes their catchphrase. In a bid to impress the sponsors, the joke goes, Ishant wanted to show them that he even had a new punchline in tow, if they were to opt for him, "It's finger flicking good."
The laughs didn't stop there. With Justin Langer, a keen follower of Buddhism, in the vicinity, the attention turned to an old Buddhist rhetoric — what is the sound of a one-handed clap? Not getting the drift of the ancient pearl of wisdom, Ishant wanted to give his own spin to it. He thought he could listen to the sound of a one-finger clap and hence the gesture, went another shaggy dog story.
Then, it was back to jokes on the namaste. The traditional Indian greeting, which involves using both hands, was proving too much for the lazy bunch and hence the one-finger salute, went another rib-tickler.
The blame was then put on the late great tech guru Steve Jobs. With not much practice on the field, and the constant use of iPods and iPhones had left Ishant's finger overworked. So, in truth he was just stretching his finger after a long 'workout'.
On a more serious note, an official in the WACA felt such displays of disregard won't go down well with the parochial WACA ground crowd and India could be in for more heckling come the third Test. Talk about putting a finger on the pulse!