Aussie behaviour no dramas for Fleming - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie behaviour no dramas for Fleming

By Chris Barclay 10/01/2008 01:43:36 PM Comments (0)

Stephen Fleming has declined to put his cricketing boot into Australia, describing the world champions' inflammatory display against India as nothing exceptional.

The former New Zealand skipper was absorbed rather than appalled by the ongoing furore across the Tasman, and doubted the controversial series would tarnish the game's image.

On a day where it was revealed Australian captain Ricky Ponting's parents had received obscene phone calls, Fleming would not join the growing condemnation of his close friend or an opponent lambasted for compromising the spirit of the game.

"The intensity of the debate and the situation where the Australians are being criticised by their own is probably the greatest surprise," Fleming said.

"They play hard over there, they do create pressure on the umpires by playing hard, constant cricket."

The Australians have copped flak for various indiscretions following their stirring second Test victory at the SCG - not walking, claiming contentious catches, appealing despite batsman being not out and reporting Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for a racial insult none of the match officials could verify.

Singh was banned for three matches after being found guilty of calling Andrew Symonds, Australia's only non-white player, a monkey.

His penalty threatened to see the Indians abandon the tour before an appeal process was engaged.

"The Harbhajan aspect is interesting," Fleming said.

"It sounds like there is a case there to be answered, it's the players' word against another - without the match officials it's very messy.

"It does look a little bit schoolboyish though the racial issue does cause concern for a lot of players, there's been a big push to stamp it out."

Fleming said whether the Australians were guilty of pressurising umpires - Ponting himself motioned to give Sourav Ganguly out to a dubious catch as India were battling to save the game - was difficult to define.

"How do you deem pressure? Is it excessive appealing? Is it appealing ball after ball if it hits the pads .... is it having 10 fielders around the bat?

"To say you're putting pressure on the umpires there has to be a set standard of rules so you know when you've gone over the line.

"The ICC (International Cricket Council) have attempted to do that but there's always going to be a grey area when there's competition involved.

"If we keep diluting it the game can become a bit boring. To have a bit of controversy when you're not involved is not a bad thing."

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