VB Series, 2005-06 January 19, 2006

Simpson slams Australia's behaviour

Cricinfo staff

Glenn McGrath has had a frustrating summer that includes a reprimand for obscene language © Getty Images

Bob Simpson has joined a chorus of former Test captains to condemn Australia's behaviour and believes the players are acting like "small children". Simpson, one of the country's most decorated figures as a former captain, coach and selector, is concerned the on-field acts are being replicated in junior matches and finds the pre-series wars of words "distasteful".

Writing in his Indian Sports Star column, Simpson said the most upsetting aspect was Ricky Ponting did not see anything wrong with his side's sledging and Steve Waugh felt it attracted more spectators to the game. "I have been very disappointed with these comments," he said, "for they seem to show a lack of leadership and concern for the game."

Brett Lee, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath have been reported for poor behaviour in the past month and the former Test captains Mark Taylor and Tony Greig have also complained about the antics of the Australians. "While present-day cricketers promote the need for the spirit of cricket to be adhered to," Simpson said, "many of them do not follow in action this norm, which they publicly endorse in words.

"This not only includes sledging but excessive appealing, disrespecting the umpiring decisions and using their well-paid, generally ghost-written columns to bait opposition teams and players. Public criticism of the opposition now seems to be part of the team tactics. All this reminds me of the behaviour of small children and the bravado they use to disguise their own fallibilities."