Indian media slam Sreesanth ‘antics’

India’s media on Wednesday condemned fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth’s on-field tantrums after he clashed with Australian batsmen, saying there was a ”thin line between aggression and antics”.

Sreesanth clashed repeatedly with the batsmen during Tuesday’s second one-day international in Kochi and even appealed for a run-out against Andrew Symonds after the ball was ruled dead.

The bowler ran up to striker Brad Haddin’s feet to collect a ball that bounced off the batsman’s pad and eye-balled him inches from his nose.

Non-striker Symonds left his crease to have a word with Sreesanth, who promptly dislodged the bails and continued to appeal for a run-out even though umpire Suresh Shastri ruled it a ”dead” ball.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni prevented the situation from turning ugly by persuading Sreesanth to get on with the game, but the local media was unimpressed.

”Sreesanth’s on-field behaviour made little sense,” wrote the Hindu newspaper.

”There was little excuse for Sreesanth’s exaggerated and provocative celebration when he, subsequently, had Symonds caught and bowled.

”He has [in the past] had his match fees docked, been spoken to by umpires, but he does not seem to have learnt his lesson.

”He is so much the better paceman when his mind and body are in harmony. Once Sreesanth loses his cool, he is not the same force as a bowler.”

Sreesanth has been fined a few times in the past year, the latest for excessive appealing during the semifinal win over Australia at last month’s Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.

Australia’s stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist, celebrating his team’s 84-run victory, said he was shocked by the aggressive on-field behaviour of some players.

”I saw some really hard-fought cricket,” said Gilchrist. ”There were some comments between different players and that happens.

”I also saw a few things that I would not expect from my son, Harrison, in a backyard game of cricket.

”Sreesanth was quite outspoken about how he was going to take the challenge to us. He’s said a lot in the press, and we see it. That’s fine. We’re not questioning that.

”That’s no doubt the way he wants to play cricket. When we get our chance, we will play aggressive cricket too.”

Haddin, who was named man of the match for his 69-ball 87, was less diplomatic.

”There is a fine line between stupidity and the spirit of cricket,” Haddin said, referring to Sreesanth’s run-out appeal against Symonds.

”You can judge for yourself.”

The Indian captain chose to play down his fast bowler’s behaviour.

”Sreesanth was heated up but he has changed over the last six months,” Dhoni said. ”He was playing in front of his home crowd and got excited.”

With the first match in Bangalore abandoned due to rain, Australia lead 1-0 in what has effectively become a six-match series.

The next match will be played in Hyderabad on Friday. — Sapa-AFP

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