Shameful or shrewd? Debate rages over Aussie cricketer's sportsmanship

Publish Date
Sat, 13 Nov 2021, 3:46PM

Shameful or shrewd? Debate rages over Aussie cricketer's sportsmanship

Publish Date
Sat, 13 Nov 2021, 3:46PM

Indian cricket legend Gautam Gambhir has been roundly slammed after he accused David Warner of a "shameful" act against the spirit of the game during Australia's semi-final win over Pakistan at the T20 World Cup. 

Early in the eighth over of Australia's miraculous run chase at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Pakistan spinner Mohammad Hafeez delivered a rank half-tracker that bounced twice before reaching Warner at the striker's end. 

The Australian opener skipped down the track and blasted the ball over the mid-wicket boundary for six. To rub salt into the wound, the delivery was called a no-ball for bouncing twice, meaning the next ball would be a free hit. 

Because umpire Richard Kettleborough considered Hafeez's delivery not to be a dead ball, Warner was entirely within his rights to smack it wherever he pleased. 

However, some cricket fans accused the 35-year-old of poor sportsmanship, arguing he should not have attacked a delivery that slipped out of Hafeez's hand. 

Speaking on the Star Sports post-game TV coverage, former Indian batter Gautam Gambhir suggested Warner's actions were against the spirit of the game. 

"Shane Warne comments and tweets on everything. Even Ricky Ponting makes big, big claims about the spirit of the game. What have they got to say about this?" Gambhir said. 

Gambhir later tweeted: "What an absolutely pathetic display of spirit of the game by Warner! #Shameful." 

But many cricket fans also jumped to Warner's defence and criticised Gambhir's hot take, arguing the bad ball deserved to be dispatched over the rope and there was no reason for the Aussie opener to show any leniency in a cutthroat World Cup semi-final. 

"This is the worst take in cricket this year," sports journalist Daniel Cherny tweeted. 

"If you don't want to be hit for six then don't bowl a ball that bounces twice," Fox Sports' Tom Morris said. 

Journalist Gus Bruno wasn't impressed with Gambhir's view either, tweeting: "This take is absolute hogswash, @GautamGambhir". 

"No free rides in professional cricket, no less a tense T20 World Cup semi-final." 

Even Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin, who has become renowned for executing controversial "mankad" run-outs while bowling, praised Warner's powerful hitting. 

"Absolutely it was a wonderful hit by @davidwarner31," he tweeted, adding: "Great shot". 

Many pundits thought Gambhir's criticism of Warner may have been a poor attempt at sarcasm or at best a bid to get a reaction out of cricket fans, but that didn't stop them ripping in to the former Indian star. 

The Australian's cricket writer Peter Lalor was having none of it. 

"Apologies to Gautam, I missed the sarcasm," he said. 

"I'll give myself a punch in the head." 

Sports writer Richard Hinds added: "Is this facetious? An in-joke? If not … well out of line." 

Aaron Finch's men will face New Zealand in the T20 World Cup Final on Monday morning at 3am NZT.