Bad behaviour among the players was already prevalent when 2000 came along but unfortunately the situation became worse in the first decade of the new millennium. Despite the presence of match referees and penalties that ranged from monetary to suspension players sledging, indulging in obscene gestures and using bad language were unfortunately commonplace.
The 'ugly' Australians were not the only guilty parties and cricketers from other countries too were seen in poor light as far as unacceptable behaviour was concerned. The acrimonious events during the Sydney Test between India and Australia in January 2008 symbolized the growing cancer that was engulfing the once gentleman's game and Harbhajan Singh slapping Sreesanth during an IPL match provided the nadir.
The two Indians were unfortunately among those whose behaviour attracted the attention of umpires and match referees but others like South Africa's Andre Nel took conduct on the field to a new low. While Wisden 2004 lists 21 defaulters under the ICC Code of Conduct - breaches and penalties, the 2005 edition lists 35 defaulters under the same code of conduct and the 2006 edition 30.
Unbecoming conduct and bringing the game into disrepute is unfortunately still very much part of the game and perhaps the time has come for the authorities to clamp down heavily on loutish behaviour.