Australian legend Neil Harvey frowns on sledging

June 15th, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 15 (IANS) Legendary Australian batsman Neil Harvey reiterated that he does not approve of the abrasive behaviour of his country’s present day cricketers and wants them to rebuild their shattered reputation. Harvey, 79, was joined by another teammate from the 1948 Invincibles, Sam Loxton, in asking Australian captain Ricky Ponting to do something immediately about the team’s on-field behaviour, a report in Herald Sun has said.

“I have said my bit about their behaviour, which Ponting doesn’t like,” Harvey said this week, on the 60th anniversary of the harmonious 1948 Invincibles tour of England, of which he was the youngest member.

Harvey was particularly incensed by what the Australian players did during the summer series against the Indians and said so at that time, but Ponting retorted saying that nobody cared to listen to the great left-handed batsman.

“I don’t really give a stuff what he says. I disliked their behaviour in the last Indian series (last summer) and I told them via the press. Ponting’s retort was that nobody listens to Neil Harvey any more, anyway.”

Harvey found it strange that Ponting himself says that his team needed to improve its image without making an effort to refurbish their image.

“If that’s the way he feels, then good luck to him. But I find it very strange that he sometimes comes out and says that they do have to improve their behaviour. So why don’t they do it?

“All of this sledging garbage started in (Ian) Chappell’s era and it has got progressively worse as the years have gone by.

“I blame the captain because he is in charge. He should get them all together and say, ‘We have got an image, and we have got to abide by it’. But they don’t.”

Harvey said he hoped that the Australians could start mending their reputations at home during the next summer against New Zealand and South Africa.

He received strong support for his stance from his Invincibles teammate and friend Sam Loxton, who said that Ponting needed to do something immediately.

“I would refer anybody to Don Bradman’s great book, Farewell to Cricket,” Loxton, 87, said.

“Bradman’s last two lines are these: ‘Without doubt the laws of cricket and the conduct of the game are a great example to the world.

“We should be proud of this heritage, which I trust will forever stand as a beacon light guiding man’s footsteps towards happy and peaceful days. I wish some cricketers in this country would read that.”

Harvey said he was also appalled at suggestions that Shane Warne could make a comeback for next year’s Ashes series in England, saying it was akin to seeing Jeff Fenech make his boxing return.

“Once you are out, I reckon you should stay out,” he said.

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