Australian cricketers redeem their public image

June 12th, 2008 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 12 (IANS) The Australian cricketers have regained their place of pride after a controversial summer of discontent when their image took a beating for their boorish behaviour during the series against India. A new study has revealed that the Australian players have left behind some of their illustrious compatriots from other sports to rule the top-10 list of the most marketable sportsperson of the country.

Cricket Australia (CA)chief executive James Sutherland said the study showed 82 per cent of Australians thought the players were good role models for children.

Led by skipper Ponting, who took the No.1 spot for the second year running, six of the top 10 in the Sweeney Sports Report list were current or past cricketers, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Recently retired wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist came in at No.2, fast bowler Brett Lee at five, former quick Glenn McGrath six, and ex-captain Steve Waugh at nine.

Andrew Symonds cracked the top 10 for the first time this week just a day after being fined for sleeping in and missing the team bus to training in Barbados.

Symonds was 10th on the list.

Ponting’s team faced a public backlash for their involvement in several controversial incidents during a heated Test and one-day series against India, yet it had done little to dent the team’s image.

CA had asked its team to spruce up their behaviour and the study has come as a relief to them.

“Other recent research shows cricket is the most watched sport on TV. Australians love their cricket and this is a tribute to the players’ on field success, but also to the way they carry themselves,” Sutherland said.

Swimmers Grant Hackett (three) and Ian Thorpe (four), soccer star Harry Kewell (seven), and former tennis world No.1 Patrick Rafter (eight) also featured in the top 10.

Other cricketers included on the list were retired spin king Shane Warne (15), and recently appointed Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke (equal 20th).

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