Australia's 1948 Invincible wants to see men in whites play a lead role in booking players for sledging
The 12th edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was expected to be a peaceful one considering the overall gloom over the death of Phillip Hughes, who was knocked down by a Sean Abbott bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November.
However, the current series has turned out to be one of the most controversial ones in 67-year-old history of India vs Australia Test cricket. In the opinion of former Australia's batting great Neil Harvey, it's a bit like the 2007-08 series in Australia where the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds controversy blew up to change India vs Australia cricket forever.
"The behaviour of both teams has been absolutely disappointing. It has sort of carried on from 2007-08 rather than getting better. The truth is it's not getting better at all," Harvey told Sunday mid-day on Friday from Sydney. It can be recalled that former captain Allan Border called for a sledging-free series in the wake of Hughes' death.
"This is not the summer to get involved in heavy sledging," wrote Border in his Courier Mail column last month. "It is going to be tough for the players to feel like they are enjoying their cricket because they will feel guilty if they are seen smiling and laughing on the field.
Australia's David Warner and Virat Kohli (right) exchange words as umpire Ian Gould looks on during Day Four of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval on December 12. Pic/Getty Images
"My advice to them is just to go out and play hard, aggressive and honest cricket. But leave the chirping and the verbals for another day," added Border.
'This is nonsense'
Harvey did not like what he saw on television. "They just sledge each other from the start of each day's play. This is nonsense. It's reached a stupid stage and it's time for the red and yellow card system which is used in football to come in.
That will fix them, wouldn't it," reckoned the 86-year-old great. "They all over do it and this sledging business has just got to stop.
The umpires have to get stronger and they've got to report players to the match referees a lot more. The umpires are too weak… that's the trouble," stressed Harvey. Harvey will watch the Sydney Test which starts on Tuesday.