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Ricky Ponting is a blight on Australia, much in the same way that cancer is in a human body. For a country that has produced distinguished cricket captains of the caliber of Alan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh, Australians should be ashamed that a man as arrogant and uncouth as Ponting is leading their national cricket team.
An international sportsman who does not have the decency and courtesy to wait for a trophy to be duly presented to him is not fit to lead a bunch of toddlers, let alone world-class athletes. Motioning the President of the host Board to hand over the trophy and then shoving him in the back, however gentle (and totally hilarious to his team) the act may have been, is unbecoming of a human being and shows a total and utter disrespect for one's hosts and humans, in general. A ruffian from the troubled western suburbs of Melbourne is capable of displaying more tact and humility than Ponting managed to exhibit.
Every captain knows and understands that the first few clicks are always taken with the presenter of the trophy. The video above makes it blatantly clear that Sharad Pawar was about to make his way off the stage before Ponting tried to show him the way and, quite appallingly, Damien Martyn felt it was necessary to help out his captain by physically pushing Pawar off stage. That is assault in any country and it is only because of the humble nature of Pawar that Martyn does not find himself locked up in a dirty jail cell charged with assault. If Schapelle Corby thought Indonesian police were bad, she hasn't yet suffered the wrath of the Indian police.
I had immense respect for Damien Martyn. As a cricketer, he has fought to get his career back on track after numerous setbacks. He has displayed a strength of character and a sense of self-belief that few can lay claim to. However, as a wise man once said, reputations take years to forge, but are ruined in a day. Damien Martyn, along with his captain, is an insolent simpleton who has lost all hard-earned respect in the eyes of millions of cricket fans, the world over.
Mark Taylor was a dignified and distinguished man of the highest character, no wonder he became Australian of the Year. Steve Waugh was a respectful traditionalist of the highest moral standing. They both understood the importance and relevance of protocols and behaved accordingly. How many people were pushed off the stage when Waugh collected the World Cup in 2003?
Dismiss the fact that Sharad Pawar is the host President. Leave alone the fact that he is a high ranking and distinguished Member of Parliament, and a former Chief Minister of Maharashtra. At the most basic level, he is a cricket fan like everyone else at the stadium and watching on TV. Which Australian sportsman would force Peter Costello or Steve Bracks off a stage and then laugh about it with his team? Why then, is the etiquette suddenly different for people of other countries, distinguished or otherwise?
Thanks to their deplorable actions, Ponting and Martyn have practically erased all the positive results achieved by the likes of Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist in building up a fan-base for Australian cricket in India. Ponting has poured scorn and shame, over not only himself, but on the institution that is the Australian cricket captaincy.
Why is it that Australian players fail to absorb the simple reality that they are humans before they are cricketers; that the world does not revolve around how many runs they score or wickets they scalp? Cricket Australia has failed radically in addressing this vital issue. It needs to make an example out of the Ponting and Martyn. Ricky Ponting must be sacked, immediately.
PS. For those who understand Hindi, below is a sample of the airtime devoted to the issue by Star News.
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