TRIUMPHANT captain Ricky Ponting was allegedly "shouldered" by a Barbados police officer as the Australians celebrated their World Cup victory on Kensington Oval.
A week after the Australians created history by winning their third consecutive World Cup, details have emerged of the incident when the squad tried to perform their victory song a few hours after their 53-run win over Sri Lanka.
It is believed the players were on the centre wicket when local police, two of whom were carrying machine guns, ordered them from the playing field.
The officer in charge, who was described by eyewitnesses as overly aggressive and forceful, was not prepared to listen when Ponting asked that his team be left for two minutes to sing the song. The officer demanded the team and its support staff leave the ground immediately.
The officer then allegedly used his shoulder to bump into Ponting and became more agitated. When the players stepped forward to protect their skipper, they were warned they were at risk of being arrested.
It is believed all-rounder Andrew Symonds intervened and helped defuse the situation by suggesting the team call it a night.
The Australian team's two security officials, who were high-ranking Caribbean police officers, ordered the policeman who caused the trouble to "stand down".
Ponting could not be contacted yesterday, but Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young confirmed the police had ordered the players off the field.
"It was around about the time when the players were due to go back to their hotel, but they wanted to sing their team song, as is their habit after big tournaments, at centre wicket," Young said.
"However, the police were at the end of their shift and they told the players to move on. They did and went back to the team hotel where they sang the song by the pool. Glenn McGrath led the song."
Sergeant Rock of the Barbados police yesterday denied any knowledge of a disturbance between police and the Australian team. "That is news to me," he said. "I haven't heard anything about that."
The incident was the last in a line of World Cup public relations disasters that led to many observers calling it the worst sporting event ever staged. As well as the murder of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, who was cremated at a private ceremony near Cape Town on Friday, there were scheduling problems and administrative difficulties, as well as many lopsided matches.
Another alleged incident involved Symonds and some teammates at a nightclub. A tourist dressed in an Australian supporter's shirt grabbed Symonds in a headlock while a friend stood by with a camera.
It appeared as if the pair wanted Symonds to react in a way that would create controversy, but the all-rounder instead left the club...