Ponting needs bigger role in team's behaviour
Mark Taylor believes Ricky Ponting has to do more to stop Australia's on-field exchanges escalating into significant incidents and has called for all players to follow the spirit of cricket. In the final two Tests against West Indies the hosts had four players reported, with Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson fined for their indiscretions.
The spate of incidents has led to the "ugly Aussies" tag being dusted off and Taylor, a former Test leader, said it was important for a captain to know when the players were close to crossing the line. "I just think the Australians could be a bit more pro-active in trying to nip these things in the bud, rather than letting things escalate," Taylor said in the Sunday Herald Sun. "To be fair to Ricky, it's not always easy.
"It can be hard to control a situation if you're not out in the middle and two of your batsmen are in the heat of battle. But as a captain, you have to make an honest appraisal of whether your players are close to crossing the line."
Taylor, a Cricket Australia director, said as captain it was important to "think a bit from the opposition's point of view - not just your own". "We saw a couple of incidents in Perth and they weren't great," Taylor said. "The Watson appeal I just thought was a bad look for the game. It was embarrassing for all concerned.
"Sometimes there can be a decision where someone feels robbed and it can escalate pretty quickly, but that's where, as a cricketer, you need to keep your head and accept there are ways in which you can't react. It's incumbent upon all sides to play within the spirit of cricket."
Watson was fined for his excessive celebration after dismissing Chris Gayle in Perth while Haddin and Johnson also received small penalties for their involvement in a lengthy exchange with Sulieman Benn, who was suspended for two ODIs. Doug Bollinger escaped with a reprimand in the second Test in Adelaide.