Gayle not surprised by Watson antics
Ricky Ponting will warn his players to tone down their on-field behaviour after Chris Gayle declared he wasn't surprised by Shane Watson's over-the-top celebrations because he "didn't expect anything better" of him. Watson was the third Australian player to be fined by the match referee during the Perth Test, which also featured a two-ODI suspension for Sulieman Benn, and left Australia's players embarrassed by their actions.
The West Indies camp was upset by the disparity in penalties and has not ruled out pursuing the matter further, and Gayle's feelings were plain when he declined to comment on Benn's ban. "I might be the person getting the ban as well, you might not get anymore interviews," he said. However, Gayle said he was not shocked by Watson's antics when he had Gayle caught behind and then moved close to the batsman and cheered excessively.
"Not really, he's that sort of person," Gayle said. "I didn't expect anything better, so that's typically Shane Watson, he's a passionate person. That's how he expresses himself but maybe he just overdid it a bit, but that's Shane Watson."
Watson was fined 15% of his match fee, while Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson were slugged 25% and 10% respectively after their run-in with Benn. Johnson clashed physically with the West Indies spinner and Haddin inflamed the situation by pointing his bat angrily at Benn and engaging in a verbal stoush.
The reports followed a reprimand in Adelaide for Doug Bollinger, who had kicked the ground in anger when he had an lbw appeal denied. Ponting said the three men who were fined in Perth knew they had crossed the line, but he would sit down with the entire squad before the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan to reinforce how they should behave.
"We all have responsibilities," Ponting said. "It's one of my responsibilities as the captain to make sure that guys aren't overstepping the mark. Definitely this week when we get down to Melbourne as a group together it will happen in our first team meeting, we will go over some of the events of this week.
"I'm not proud of the fact, I'm sure the players aren't proud of the fact either, that we've had three guys reported in the one game. Reports are something we've been really strict on the last couple of years, that's amongst the player group ourselves. And we've actually got a good record on that over the last couple of years. I know all the guys are a bit embarrassed probably and know they've overstepped the mark."
Despite the incidents, Gayle insisted the match had been played in the right spirit and aggression was a good thing for the game. There was certainly plenty of passion and fierceness from his 200-centimetre spinner Benn, who did not back down when he was targeted verbally by Haddin. Benn is often seen singing when not playing the game and was described by the Australians as "unusual".
"He is unusual," Gayle said. "Benny has always been himself, that's how he plays cricket out there. He will talk and these things give him an extra drive to be competitive. He's a competitive person. He's sometimes miserable at times, too."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo