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I was a good sledger, says Australian PM Tony Abbott

Australian PM reveals how he managed to hold on to a place in Oxford University's cricket team during a High Tea function in Sydney

Sydney: If “sledging” had been the sole criterion to get into a playing XI of a cricket team, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, by his own admission, showed enough expertise in that area to get a berth into the Oxford University team.

Indian team with Australian PM Tony Abbott at Kirribilli House
The Indian team with Australian PM Tony Abbott at Kirribilli House, Sydney yesterday. Pic/Getty Images.

“I couldn’t bat, I couldn’t bowl, I couldn’t field, but I could sledge, and I think I held my place in the team on this basis, and I promise there will be none of that today,” Abbott said in jest during the ‘High Tea’ hosted for both India and Australia cricket teams, at the Kirribilli House here yesterday.

India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay (right) take a selfie
India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay (right) take a selfie

The hosts have already reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after the Melbourne draw but many believe that Steve Smith’s late declaration at the MCG on Day Five could have made the scoreline read 3-0 instead of 2-0. Abbott though defended his captain on strategy matters.

Karn Sharma and Ishant Sharma (right) meet the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret yesterday
Karn Sharma and Ishant Sharma (right) meet the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret yesterday

Defends Smith’s tactics
“When I told people last night that I was lucky enough to be hosting the Australian and the Indian cricket teams here today, the only question that they assailed me with was ‘What did you think of the declaration?’” Abbott, a former captain of Oxford’s Middle Common Room team of the Queen's College, was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mitchell Johnson and his daughter are greeted by the Australian Prime Minister
Australia's pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson and his daughter are greeted by the Australian Prime Minister

‘None of my business’
“My initial thought was it was none of my business. My further thought was that Steven Smith did absolutely his duty, because it is his duty to put Australia in the strongest possible position because, as India’s batsmen have repeatedly demonstrated this summer, you can never take India for granted.”

Meanwhile, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who retired from Tests after the Melbourne match, was not seen in any of the photos posted. It remains unclear whether he attended the event or not.

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