Sport Cricket The Ashes: Giant four-fingered salute slammed as ‘gross’ and ‘tasteless’
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The Ashes: Giant four-fingered salute slammed as ‘gross’ and ‘tasteless’

England's vice-captain James Anderson walks past hand cutout at Ashes
England's vice-captain James Anderson on the podium after England's 4-0 series loss to Australia. Photo: Getty
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A giant four-fingered salute on show at the Ashes presentation ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday has been described as “tasteless” and “gross” by viewers.

Channel Nine commentator Mark Taylor led the ceremony, following Australia’s innings-and-123-run victory in the fifth Ashes Test to wrap up a 4-0 series triumph, with the oversized hand in the background on the outfield.

Veteran journalist Mike Carlton deemed the hand – emblazoned with the Australian flag and holding up four fingers to signify the 4-0 series win as opposed to England’s closed fist – as “gross”, while others tweeted that it appealed to a “One Nation mentality”.

But a Cricket Australia spokesman said the on-field presentation represented the marketing campaign from the Ashes series.

“The hand signified the results of the series which was 4-0 to Australia,” he said.

“Had the result been different, the presentation dressings would have reflected that.”

Captain Steve Smith and his players were photographed in front of the oversized hand with the series trophy as they celebrated.

Australia Ashes hand
Steve Smith and the Aussies celebrate their Ashes triumph at the SCG. Photo: Getty

Carlton’s tweet garnered more than 200 responses, describing the marketing stunt as “tasteless”, “gauche”, “childish”, “unsportsmanlike” and “unnecessary”.

Victorian barrister Fraser Cameron tweeted the fact the none-too-subtle victory salute was “conceived, prepared and considered appropriate by someone paid by Cricket Australia (CA) makes it even more ordinary”.

The backlash in regards to the marketing decision is indicative of the Australian attitude to sport, sportsmanship and respecting one’s opponent.

It follows on from England’s rugby union coach Eddie Jones, a former Australian player, accusing Australia of having a lack of respect late last year.

In November, Jones responded to Australian coach Michael Cheika’s claims England would try to “bully” the Wallabies in the Cook Cup clash at Twickenham.

Cheika had refused to meet with referee Ben O’Keeffe in favour of influencing him through the media.

“Obviously Australia enjoys the media more than the referee,” Jones said after England’s captain’s run at Twickenham.

“I have coached over 100 Tests and before every Test I have had a meeting with the referee.

“It’s a sign of respect that you want to know what he wants from the game. It’s a mutual exchange of information for the benefit of the game.”

England vice-captain James Anderson told ABC Grandstand after the official Ashes presentation on Monday there were “a lot of guys hurting in that dressing room”.

“I hope they are hurting as much as I am, watching Australia celebrate.”

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