Melbourne, Feb.29 : Cricket Australia (CA) has said that it will stand by its policy of gagging players from publicly criticising rivals even while acknowledging that e much worse is taking place on the field.
"You would be very naive to think that words are not exchanged out on the field. [But] it is possible to have frank, fearless, intelligent and meaningful discussions about cricket without being disrespectful," The Australian quoted CA spokesman Peter Young, as saying.
Meanwhile, retiring Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist has said that it does'nt really matter what other teams think of opener Mathew Hayden, and believes he is one of the most well-respected people in the team.
The Indians yesterday attempted to deflect attention away from the brewing tension by claiming quotes attributed to an unnamed Indian player and published in the Hindustan Times had been fabricated.
The player reportedly said Hayden was "insane" and "asking for a fight".
"These quotes are a figment of someone's imagination," team manager Bimal Soni said. "We have moved on."
The Hindustan Times, however, stood by the quotes and its story. The newspaper's sports editor, Kadambari Murali, said the player involved could not be named because he would be charged with breaching the policy of the Indian cricket board, which prevents team members apart from the captain, designated player or manager commenting publicly on such issues.
With a summer of controversy and spite to wind up with the one-day finals series starting in Sydney on Sunday, Gilchrist said the Australian players had grown tired of the focus on the behaviour of both sides.
The retiring wicketkeeper, who plays his final international at the MCG tonight against Sri Lanka, said the series had taken a toll on him and he did not regret his decision to step down.