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November 7, 2006
Australia have been described as "rude and arrogant" by the Indian media following unsavoury incidents after their Champions Trophy win. Ricky Ponting's men were taken to task for pushing Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president and an Indian government minister, off the presentation dais after their eight-wicket win over the West Indies in Sunday's final in Mumbai.
Ponting, who was visibly impatient after the long presentation ceremony, gestured towards Pawar with his forefinger, asking him to quickly give away the trophy, which Australia had won for the first time. Newspapers on Tuesday carried front-page pictures of Damien Martyn pushing Pawar with his right hand, urging him to get off the stage so that the team could pose with the trophy.
The picture in the Indian Express came under the headline: "This is how champions behave when they get the trophy." The Times of India added: "They are supposed to be aggressive, even rude on the field. On Sunday, Australia showed they are not exactly polite off it too."
Sachin Tendulkar, who usually prefers to stay silent on most controversial matters, also took a swipe at the Australians. "I was not watching the proceedings but from what I heard, it was unpleasant and uncalled for," Tendulkar said at a sponsors' function in Mumbai on Monday. "Firstly, it should never have happened. It's important to show respect to a person who is so dear to the cricketers and is involved with cricket. Such incidents should be avoided."
Dilip Vengsarkar, India's chief cricket selector, added: "You expect such behaviour from uneducated people. If they wanted to pose for photographs, they could have politely requested him. This is appalling."
Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, described the incident as "unintentional", but he also said players "seem to leave good sense behind". "Anyway, you know how players are once they get on the cricket field."
However, Pawar laughed off the incident. "It was a small thing, a stupid thing," Pawar said in the Hindustan Times. "I don't want to react."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.