This Australian cricket team is just so hard to like, isn’t it? Yep, they are undoubtedly the best in the world at what they do, and as a kid who grew up hating the fact that some of my schoolmates “barracked” for the West Indies because we could never get near them, it’s hard to agree with those who say the game is becoming boring because of our team’s long dominance of both forms of the game.

But Damien Martyn’s manhandling of Indian cricket board president Sharad Pawar during the ICC Champions Trophy presentation, while certainly not up there with the worst offences in world cricket, does nothing to dispel suggestions some members of this Aussie team are arrogant and full of self-importance.

Martyn has since apologised for his gaffe, saying he only wanted to “help him (Pawar) out as there was a crush of people”, but a string of past public indiscretions would say the benefit of the doubt expiry date has long since past for Marto.

In recent years, the gifted right-hander has been in hot water for flipping the bird at a photographer outside a team hotel during a lean spell with the bat, and there was the incident where he was said to have abused friends of his former fiancee with some choice personal descriptions at a pub in his native Perth late last year.

The 35-year-old has done well to force his way back into the Australian team after being dumped in the aftermath of last year’s Ashes defeat, but he seems to have learnt little from the downers he has experienced over a long career. He has even admitted in the past that his extended absence from the Test team during the 1990s partly came about as a result of his inability to handle the excesses that come with being a feted international sportsperson.

Not surprisingly, Martyn has already received the public support of teammates after this latest incident, and Pawar is even said to have downplayed the issue after it caused outrage in the Indian press.

But you’d hope that Cricket Australia comes down hard on Martyn for his latest misdemeanour. It’s not only embarrassing for the team and the country, this type of thing makes it hard for even the most forgiving fan to like this team.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey