"Have a look at how many Test matches they have won (three out of 12 in 2006)... He (Gavaskar) has been a big part of that. He has been a selector and he has been on the coaching committee." Ouch!
When it comes to a scrap, you can expect an Aussie to be on the front foot, and Ponting did just that to deflect Gavaskar's latest salvo. “Australia’s come-uppance at the hands of England and New Zealand has gladdened the hearts of not just the other aspirants for the World Cup but also the followers of the game. There is not the slightest doubt that in the last decade or so the Aussies have been awesome in batting, bowling and fielding... But they have also been awful in the way they have sometimes behaved on the field," wrote Gavaskar.
I think both have skirted the real issue, which is the ICC's ineptitude in ironing out wrinkles in this sport. Why should the fielding side be allowed to disturb the concentration of a batsman, through abuse or even banter? It's all very well to smile and pass it off as the fast bowler's machismo. But there's a simpler word for it: cheating.
The Aussies under Steve Waugh systematised it into a gameplan. Of course, other teams, including the Indians, have tried to copy these tactics, but they just aren't very good at it. In fact, most of the Indian bowlers themselves lose their rhythm when they try to turn on a little aggro, except Sreesanth who has winkled out a few wickets with his antics. More than Greg Chappell, what we should have imported from Australia was a sledging coach.
This sort of thing used to happen in tennis too. The tantrums of 'Superbrat' McEnroe and 'Nasty' Nastase were as much about working themselves up into a lather as throwing their opponents out of kilter. But the WTA has totally stamped out all that. So you can enjoy a virtuoso dismantling of Nadal by Federer, punctuated only by the occasional clenched fist or hard stare.
Or take golf. Can you imagine whispering a few obscenities into an opponent's ear when it's his turn to tee off? Should cricket be less of a genteel sport?