In considering the proportionality of the penalty, I am prepared to accept that he had been the victim of prolonged and persistent verbal abuse by members of the Australian team, culminating in a moment of anger that led to his unfortunate lapse. I would add in his favour that the manner in which Shane Watson had raised an arm as he ran past for the first run, could have been taken by him as a mocking gesture, and thereby could have served as the last provocative straw.This is a great opportunity for the ICC to step in and do something about abuse and sledging.
 At the same time, it is not only physical argy-bargy that must be minimised. Constant verbal assaults are also unbecoming, and also bring the game into disrepute, the more so if their intention is to break the player’s concentration and provoke a loss of temper. To my mind, these 'verbals' as they are euphemistically called, whether they involve swearing or not, provide a kind of tension and aggression inconsistent with the spirit of cricket. Yet even if a case can be made out that the time has come to consider whether sledging has any place in cricket at all, one form of unbecoming conduct cannot justify another. However severe the verbal assaults on them may be, players are obliged not to give vent to their anger through physical retaliation. They must respond with their prowess as cricketers, and not with the furious muscle of out-of-control anger. Even a hint of physical retaliation must be strongly dealt with. And captains and umpires should be astute not to allow any badgering which raises the temperature and encourages undue ire.
Anil Kumble retires
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