The Australian team that was led by Ricky Ponting between 2000 and 2007 are regarded by many of their contemporaries and critics as one of the greatest of all time in the game of cricket. Ponting took over the captaincy from Steve Waugh, who had led the team to 1998 World Cup title. The former then took them to victory in the 2003 and 2007 editions of the tournament.
The team was also known for their aggression with figures such as Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and numerous others making the term ‘sledging’ their own. There were also quite a few occasions when they crossed the thin line between aggression and sheer arrogance. One such instance was in 2006 when they pushed then BCCI President Sharad Pawar off the dais after being presented with the Champions Trophy that they won after beating West Indies in Mumbai.
Ponting first pointed with his forefinger to Pawar to give away the trophy quickly. Once that was done, he stepped back to join his team mates while batsman Damien Martyn pushed Pawar off the dias. It was the first time ever that Australia had won the trophy.
Pawar dismissed any ill feelings he had at the time for the Australians. In an interview to a newspaper a few days later, Pawar said that it was “a small thing, a stupid thing.”
But not many others took Martyn and Ponting’s gestures too kindly. Dilip Vengsarkar, who was India’s chief cricket selector at the time, said, “You expect such behaviour from uneducated people. If they wanted to pose for photographs, they could have politely requested him. This is appalling.”
The image of Damien Martyn pushing Pawar off the dias was then plastered on newspapers the next day. Pawar later went on to criticise the Australian players but did not want to press on the issue keeping in mind the friendly relationship between Cricket Australia and the BCCI.