|What a shame it is that the legacy of this fine team will be so tarnished by the ugly and offensive manner in which it plays the game – and has done for at least three years.
Ricky Ponting’s men have trampled all over the spirit of cricket by offering the lame excuse that they are "hard". In their world, deliberately conning the umpire is part and parcel of the game: “It’s his decision," they offer as a cop-out.
Just look at Andrew Symonds, who visibly gloated for the media when he admitted he had got away with a catch behind the wicket early in his first innings - what a miserable performance.
And what effect does that have on the umpire’s confidence – or that of the players in him?
This Australia team plays the game to win – there’s nothing wrong in that – but it has negated its responsibility to those who watch it and, more importantly, the next generation of cricketers who will inherit the battered sprit of cricket that Ponting’s team leaves in its trail.
Cricket can be an aggressive sport, but it is the ball and the bat that should do the talking. The hostile, nasty and intimidating environment that the Australians create on the pitch is a key ingredient in unsettling an opponent.
Little wonder that, sometimes, a volatile character lashes out in what he would perceive as self-defence, and what does it say of these "hard" men that they then go and report him to the umpire?
They can give it, but can’t take it.
--edited by rvec: removed the pictures ----
Just like all cricket lovers I hope the bad phase of cricket will pass and am optimistic that Australians and ICC will restrain themselves from doing these kinds of acts in future.