What he said:
“I couldn’t bat, I couldn’t bowl, I couldn’t field, but I could sledge, and I think I held my place in the team on this basis, and I promise there’ll be none of that today.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott jests that he was a sledger-par-excellence during his Oxford University days.
The premier was addressing the Indian cricket team at tea hosted at at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Thursday.
Abbott is a former captain of Oxford’s Middle Common Room team of the Queen’s College at Oxford.
Revealing his thoughts on Steve Smith’s delayed declaration during the Melbourne Test, the university cricketer said:
“When I told people last night that I was lucky enough to be hosting the Australian and the Indian cricket teams here today, the only question that they assailed me with was `What did you think of the declaration?’.
My initial thought was it was none of my business. My further thought was that Steven Smith did absolutely his duty, because it is his duty to put Australia in the strongest possible position because, as India’s batsmen have repeatedly demonstrated this summer, you can never take India for granted.”
What he really meant:
“The English are not the only traditionalists. Australians too have one—sledging—and I carried it all the way to Oxford.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Unparliamentary language, chaps, unparliamentary language. Just not done, Steve and company.”