Zaheer let off lightly over Hayden 'send-off'

No one needs an old quote from Sir Leonard Hutton, one of England's great captains, to tell us that the Australians have no inhibitions.

Just as Zaheer Khan had no need to act like Bollywood celluloid bully, or an Australian for that matter, to give Matthew Hayden a "send off" that he is going to remember. It is an incident that will probably become part of a chapter in his autobiography when it is written.

This view of course is not going to be a popular one, especially after his three-wicket burst in four balls yielding only two runs at the start of the day and which kicked aside the support struts that had hinged the innings together the previous afternoon.

He will be seen as a hero. And there is nothing wrong with that either. Any demolition job that is swift in its execution, as will be noticed from Sri Lanka's second innings at Galle earlier this year, is always an adrenaline pumping exercise.

While it is one thing to be competitive, it is quite another matter to be boorishly arrogant with it as respect for the game also means respect for the opposition. And no matter how often the Australians may have turned up the volume of their verbals before the game and even during it, there is a matter of player respect.

New Zealanders know all too well the feeling of what retribution means in the face of tough and smirking Australian attrition. Our cousins from across the lake are tough as granite and there are times when there is the feeling that the Anzac spirit is a myth.

But the Zaheer incident with Hayden is one that was totally unnecessary, whether or not there had been provocation. It is the old story of don't get involved if you can't give it back in kind. He did that last year at Trent Bridge when clowning fools in the England team tossed jellybeans on to the pitch in a bid to upset or distract him.

An irate Zaheer gave it back in kind and made the Poms suffer for their show of foolish, misguided arrogance. They were the ones who misbehaved and Zaheer ended with five wickets and helped India clinch the series.

There was quite a lot said on that occasion: much of justified criticism as well of England's idiotic behaviour. Schoolboy pranks are one thing, but it was behaviour unbecoming of Test players and Zaheer reacted as you would expect he would on that occasion.

all courtesy: cricketnext