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October 14, 2007
Andrew Symonds has described playing in India as "hostile" and says Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh have been the major instigators of on-field conflicts between the two sides. However, Symonds seemed less concerned by the off-field dramas at Vadodara on Thursday, where he was reportedly subjected to racial taunts in the form of monkey chants from the crowd.
"You have to be pretty thick-skinned to survive in the Australian dressing room, let alone out on the paddock," Symonds wrote in his column in News Ltd newspapers. "It is a sensitive issue and guys have been made an example of in the past, but what do you do in this instance if it's coming from the crowd? I'm not allowed to comment on exactly what went on, but I'm not the most deadly serious bloke. Life goes on."
While Symonds appeared to brush off the spectators' behaviour, he was less inclined to forgive Sreesanth for his repeated clashes with the Australian players this series. Symonds said Sreesanth had crossed the line of acceptable on-field conduct and had acted "like a goose".
"I get on well with most of them. Sachin Tendulkar is a gentleman and I have played in England with Murali Kartik, he's a good guy," Symonds said. "There are just a couple of them who seem to spark things. Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh are the ones we are clashing with most.
"The thing that annoys us the most is when they are going well, they will have a shot at you. But when they aren't going well, they forget to shake hands at the end of the game. That's not on in my opinion. If you play the game properly, shake hands, get over it, and move on to the next game."
Relations between Symonds and Sreesanth have become strained several times, notably during the fourth match at Chandigarh when Sreesanth, the 12th man, reportedly taunted Symonds after he was dismissed for 75. "I was wild. I was really angry when I got out and then for him to run past and say things I didn't think were right," Symonds said. "I thought: 'Right, I've had enough of this bloke'.
"His carry-on in this series has been way over the top. We don't mind blokes having a go and standing up for themselves, but he has gone above and beyond what's acceptable. Information in this game travels and people remember when someone is carrying on like a goose."
Symonds said such incidents, combined with the major celebrations in India following their ICC World Twenty20 triumph, had made Australia even more desperate to win the series. After the first five games in the seven-match tour Australia held an unbeatable 3-1 lead.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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