London, Jan 8: Calling the standoff between Australian and Indian teams the biggest crisis to hit the cricketing world in 75 years, British cricket writers on Monday slammed the Australian team over the way it played and won the second Test against India.
Most papers backed Indian manager Chetan Chauhan's view that Australia would not have won the second Test but for incompetent umpiring.
"The Australians have come out of the second Test not only with a 16th successive victory that they did not deserve but also, as things stand, without the services for the last two Tests of a bowler who keeps getting their captain out," wrote columnist Christopher Martin-Jenkins in the Times.
A number of papers drew a parallel with the infamous 1932-33 bodyline series when Australians objected to the tactics used by English fast bowlers to contain Australian batsman Don Bradman.
"The BCCI move is the latest development in a contest which is threatening to rival the infamous 'Bodyline' series for the bitterness between hosts and tourists," the Guardian reported.
The Daily Telegraph said the Indian board's reaction to Harbhajan Singh's three-match ban on racism charges "even includes the same national-pride rhetoric that came out of Australia in 1932-33 when [English fast bowler] Douglas Jardine went to work on leg theory."
Award-winning columnist Simon Barnes, referring to the Singh-Symonds row, wrote in the Times, "No doubt it was all very reprehensible, but I don't find it easy to pity an Australian for being sledged. Sledging, as we understand the term, is an Australian invention."
"They say that this went over the line; I think that the line is crossed as soon as any sledging begins," he added.
Martin-Jenkins pointed out that Sachin Tendulkar, "probably the most respected cricketer in the world", had denied that the Indian spinner used the word "monkey" in his exchange with Symonds.
The Times' report from Sydney said: "Apart from some dreadful umpiring in this match, without which Australia would not have won, aspects of their onfield demeanour left a sour taste."
"Indian frustration was reflected in an unseemly exchange at the post-match press conference between Ponting and the Indian media, who later complained that they had been 'humiliated' by him," the report added.
The strongest words came from former English Test cricketer Peter Roebuck, who wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald: "India have been dudded. No one with the slightest enthusiasm for cricket will take the least satisfaction from the victory secured by the local team in an SCG Test that entertained spectators, provided some excellent batting but left a sour taste."
"It was a match that will have been relished only by rabid nationalists and others for whom victory and vengeance are the sole reasons for playing sport," he added.
Should play in Perth only after the ban is lifted: Sachin SMS
New Delhi: Upset over the ban imposed on Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar sent an SMS on Monday to BCCI chief Sharad Pawar assuring him that the off-spinner was innocent and suggesting that India should play the third Test only if the punishment is revoked.
"Harbhajan is innocent and I can assure you on this. In this hour of crisis, the Board should stand by him. I suggest we should play in Perth only if the ban is lifted," Tendulkar reportedly told Pawar through the text message.
Sachin was among the five Indians, who attended the ICC Match Referee Mike Procter's hearing into the allegation of racial abuse made by Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
Pawar, meanwhile, said he spoke to Indian skipper Anil Kumble and team manager Chetan Chauhan also before the appeal against Procter's verdict was prepared and the BCCI was expecting a response from the ICC by Tuesday.
"I have seen the draft and it was approved by Arun Jaitely and other colleagues. I spoke to skipper Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar and manager Chetan Chauhan, understood the situation and took their views and assessement.
"We have demanded the supension of the ban. We are expecting (a response) from the ICC by tomorrow. We also have a Working Committee meeting, so will take the final decision tomorrow," Pawar said in New Delhi.
Sack arrogant Ponting, demands Peter Roebuck
Sydney: Australia should immediately sack its arrogant and abrasive captain Ricky Ponting and it's a surprise that India has not called off the tour and gone back home, said an aghast Peter Roebuck.
Lambasting the members of the Australian side for their rude behaviour, Roebuck, the former Somerset captain who is based in Sydney, singled out Ponting and said the captain must be sacked.
"If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days," said the furious former cricketer, also one of the best cricket writers of his era.
"Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years," he wrote in his column for 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
"The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not packed their bags and gone home. There is no justice for them in this country, nor any manners," he observed.
He said the lack of sportsmanship among the Australians hurt their young fans and former players alike.
"Pained past players rang to express their disgust. It was a wretched and ill-mannered display and not to be endured from any side, let alone an international outfit representing a proud sporting nation," Roebuck wrote.
According to him, Ponting and his men had embarrassed Australia through their triumph in the spiteful second Test.
The better team won Sydney test: Greg Chappell
Jaisalmer: Former India coach Greg Chappell believes that the mistakes made by the umpires in the controversial Sydney Test could best be termed as 'human errors' but the team which played better won the Test.
Chappell said "these were human errors and the third umpire also could make mistake as technology available today is not foolproof."
Chappel who is on a vacation here also refrained himself from speaking anything by India's recently appointed coach Gary Kirsten.
"I don't know much about Kirsten and can not comment on his calibre to turn around the side."
He further said "In the last few years I have seen cricket evolving very fast and the cricketers today have to be very athletic."
The former Australian captain said the evolution of game and cricketers has to be given due consideration during team selection as it helps team in running between the wicket and putting up a better fielding performance.
He said he was happy the way Twenty20 cricket is shaping as it adds more thrill and excitement in the game. "Twenty20 is very thriling and winning is a challenge in this format of the game. It gives the younger players a chance to prove their mettle."
Chappell has been appointed as the chief of 'Future Cricket Academy' in Rajasthan and said that he is on a talent hunt in Rajasthan and wants to groom young Rajasthan cricketers for the international challenge.
Gavaskar calls Aussies 'hypocrites'
Sydney: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has accused the Australian cricket team of hypocrisy after Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was handed out a three Test ban for allegedly making a racist jibe at Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
"Is it only when the Australians give it to somebody that what happens on the field, stays on the field?" Gavaskar fumed. "When they get it, has it got to be reported? It doesn't stay on the field."
Gavaskar, who has been commentating on Star Cricket and writing columns, was incensed at various decisions and made no effort to hide his anger at the poor umpiring.
Symonds claimed that the Indian off-spinner Harbhajan had called him a 'monkey' during play and captain Ricky Ponting brought the issue to the notice of the on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.
Mike Proctor went on record saying the umpires didn't hear anything but still handed out the ban to Harbhajan, on the basis of the statements of two Australian players, Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden.
The Australian media reported that Gavaskar asked: "This brings it to a very interesting situation. If the umpires haven't heard it, what has happened to the famous Australian way of saying what happens on the field, stays on the field?
"That is normally the situation. When there is something that happens on the field and has got nothing to do with racism - might have been a bit of a chirp - the Australians say: 'What has happened on the field, stays on the field - let's have a beer at the end of the day's play'.
"In this instance, if the umpires haven't heard anything, why isn't this particular line being used for this particular incident?" he added.
Cricket Australia Director and former captain Mark Taylor, one of the game's great diplomats, agreed with Gavaskar. He joined Gavaskar in saying Australia's behaviour would now be scrutinised more than ever.
"I think it's a very valid point. I think Ricky is opening up a Pandora's box in terms of this," he said.
"I mentioned a moment ago that the Australians play tough cricket. They make the odd chirp, so if this goes any further I am sure there will be times Ricky Ponting will be on the other side of the ledger."
Harbhajan asked for it: Symonds
Sydney: All-rounder Andrew Symonds is of the view that three-match ban slapped on Harbhajan Singh is justified as the 'Indian spinner asked for it'.
"I'm a firm believer in sticking up for your teammate, so I stepped in and had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan, telling him exactly what I thought of his antics," Symonds told 'The Daily Telegraph'.
"He then had a shot back, which brings us to the situation we're facing tonight," he said,
Symonds asserted that Harbhajan had hit Brett Lee while batting, following which he had an altercation with the Indian. But if the episode earned the Indian a three-match ban from Procter, the off-spinner has none but himself to blame for that.
He added "Brett Lee had just sent down a delivery and Harbhajan took off down the wicket. When he was returning to his crease, he decided to hit Brett on the backside. I have no idea why he did it. I was standing nearby and when I saw what happened I thought: 'Hold on, that's not on'."
The all-rounder claimed India and Australia shared a pretty cordial relation before the incident soured it all.
"I must admit the incident was pretty surprising, because relations between the two sides so far have been very good. It's been a series played in really good spirit. There's been no sledging or bad blood."
Three former captains slam Ponting on racial issue
Sydney: Three former captains, India's Sunil Gavaskar, England's Tony Greig of England and Australia's Mark Taylor on Saturday accused tough-talking Australians of hypocrisy after "dobbing in" Harbhajan Singh for alleged racial abuse, the Australian media reported.
The fiery Harbhajan was reported by umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor at the behest of Australian captain Ricky Ponting after the Indian was involved in a verbal spat with Andrew Symonds at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday.
The Queenslander had questioned why Harbhajan, in his match-turning innings, had touched fast bowler Brett Lee on the bottom when the fireworks erupted.
While there have been claims Harbhajan had called Symonds a "monkey", Indian players and officials dismissed such suggestions.
"I understand that Symonds may have told him to f--- off and he may have said the same," an unnamed Indian player was quoted as saying by Herald Sun. "It was nothing out of the ordinary."
Indian team manager Chetan Chauhan was angered by Ponting's decision to urge the umpires to report Harbhajan.
"If he did say anything at all, it would have been in the heat of the moment, in retaliation for continuous aggravation and extreme provocation," Chauhan said.
"It is ridiculous to take matters to this level when they, themselves, say pretty much as they please."
Symonds, of Caribbean descent, had endured monkey chants from fans during the one-day series in India, and former Test batsman Michael Slater claimed Harbhajan had reprised this taunt.