May 21, 2003

Gray concerned about Australian behaviour

Wisden CricInfo staff

Malcolm Gray, president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has expressed concern at the increasingly aggressive on-field behaviour of the Australian players, and stated that the ICC would scrutinise the incidents that took place during Australia's ongoing tour of the West Indies.

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Gray indicated that the match officials should have taken stern action against the errant players. "From all of the reports we got it appeared...that the behaviour of the players was quite over the odds. It's something that we don't want in the sport and that in those circumstances, greater action and more sterner action should have been taken."

Gray was especially worried that the Australians were building a reputation as poor sportsmen. "Australians are not liked around the world," Gray said. "The messages we were getting was that the Australian public and the Australian press felt it was way over the top...this time the Australian people believed the actions were beyond the pale."

Gray stressed that the onus was on both the ICC and the national cricket boards to ensure that player behaviour improved across all teams. "In terms of process it is an ICC matter, in other words the umpires, referees and so forth," he said. "However, in terms of the longer-term problem, it really is up to the national bodies to develop within their teams a change in culture."

The four-Test series between Australia and West Indies were marred by on-field altercations, which reached a head when Glenn McGrath charged at Ramnaresh Sarwan and exchanged heated words in the fourth Test in Antigua. Both players were reprieved by Mike Procter, the match referee, who decided not to take any punitive action.