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'Symonds was only complimenting Ishant'

Press Trust Of India
Feb 26, 2008 at 04:22am IST

Melbourne: Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds on Monday claimed he only complimented Indian speedster Ishant Sharma on his fine bowling when the Delhi paceman castled him in the tri-series one-dayer in Sydney.

The incident, which sparked an unsavoury chain of events, resulted in Ishant being docked 15 per cent of his match fees for showing Symonds a "send-off finger" and the Indian team management complaining to the match referee about the Aussies' "provocative behaviour."

Symonds has told teammates he uttered, "Well bowled, champ" to Ishant before the 19-year-old mouthed off and pointed towards the pavilion, apparently misinterpreting the "compliment". It was then that Symonds fired back with his own unpleasantries, a report in The Age claimed.

MISCOMMUNICATION? Symonds had apparently only said, "Well bowled, champ," to Ishant.

Australian wicket-keeping great Ian Healy said too much should not be made of the incident.

He claimed lip-readers in Channel Nine's broadcast van discerned Symonds to say: "Good ball, champ."

"Whether it had a bit of cynicism in it or not, I'm not sure," Healy said. "Sharma was holding his standards pretty well, and then when he thought Symonds said something worse, he carried on in a way that is a little too personal for

mine."

Both players could have behaved better, Healy felt.

He thought Sharma needed to be reminded that the send-off was unacceptable, no matter what the circumstances. But he said he did not believe the incident demonstrated residual bad blood between the sides, only that the match was fiercely contested.

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