Melbourne, Mar. 3 : Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh has said that both cricket players and administrators need to approach matters relating to the sport on and off the field with some common sense, rather than being out of sync with each other.
Reacting to Australia's defeat by six wickets in the first of the three finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday and to its problems on and off the field in previous instances this summer, Waugh says in an article for the Daily Telegraph that, " Australia have been out of sync since the tempestuous Sydney Test match where they felt under siege from all-comers in the wake of the Harbhajan-Symonds confrontation that never really reached a comfortable conclusion for either party."
He further states that from that moment, Ponting's boys have been searching for the equilibrium that satisfies the critics and stays true to playing cricket "the Aussie way" - hard, fair and uncompromising.
"During this one-day series, they have remained largely in the winning column by utilising their experience and seizing the crucial moments, mostly while in the field, but they still have lacked that killer instinct that has categorised Australia's dominance of the past decade," Waugh says.
"During this testing time they have also battled Cricket Australia, who have had the unenviable task of keeping the peace with an opposing board (the Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI) that is now basically running the game, thanks to their financial position and political strength, and keeping their own players content," he adds.
He clearly believes that Australian opener Mathew Hayden was caught of guard by the reprimand that he received from Cricket Australia (CA) for his less than savoury comments on Brisbane Radio about Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
"Often, as a player, radio interviews - and in particular the more relaxed FM networks - are where the cliches and sportspeak are abandoned as you inadvertently drift off into the spirit of the interview and blurt out something that you wouldn't normally say in a more controlled environment which often leads to a headline and harsh consequences," Waugh opines.
"Whether Matthew was caught off guard or was sending out a message to India that the friendly stuff was no longer a priority is debatable, but what is certain is that it was never going to go unnoticed by the authorities," he adds.
He says that players have a right to have an opinion, but need to express it in an articulate manner, rather than give robotic answers which neither provide insight nor stimulate debate.
"Common sense must prevail, with the players respecting each other and keeping the personal stuff on the field and the authorities becoming more consistent in their attitudes," Waugh concludes.
Story first published: Monday, March 3, 2008, 11:04 [IST]
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