PERTH, Australia, January 10 – Indian pace bowler Ishant Sharma was facing criticism on Tuesday after he was photographed showing his middle finger in a rude gesture to fans during the troubled tour of Australia.
The so-called “Sharma salute” was splashed by the West Australian newspaper after the player was snapped leaving a go-karting track, where India had been holding a team-building exercise in the run-up to Friday’s third Test in Perth.
Sharma is the second Indian player to be caught giving fans the finger on the tour, after Virant Kohli was fined half his match fee for making the gesture during the second Test in Sydney.
India slumped to an innings defeat in Sydney to go 2-0 down in the four-Test series. Sharma reportedly made his gesture in response to taunts from fans at the go-karting venue.
“Why don’t you go learn how to bat and bowl before you go go-karting. It will be 3-0 mate,” an unnamed fan said according to the West Australian, in a story headlined: “Kart them off! Struggling India hit track instead of nets.”
Several Australian media outlets reported Sharma’s gesture while Indian press, which has carried strong criticism of the current world number two team, took a dim view of the latest development.
“The present tour of the Indian team to Australia is not only a disaster from cricketing point of view but it is also turning out to be a catastrophe as far as public manners go,” the Press Trust of India said.