Cricket Australia 'not surprised' by high emotion January 7, 2008

Tour will go ahead - Sutherland

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Ricky Ponting should sit down with Anil Kumble and discuss their differences of opinion, according to James Sutherland © Getty Images
 

James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, is confident India's tour will continue as planned and he has called on the captains Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting to sort out their differences in the next few days. Despite rumblings of discontent from within the Indian team, Sutherland said Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, had indicated the remaining two Tests would be played and the squad would not be heading home early.

"There's nothing to suggest that it won't [go ahead]," Sutherland said. "Sharad Pawar, who is the president of cricket in India, has overnight made such commitments, so that's good enough for me. We're looking forward to Perth now."

Australia won the second Test on Sunday with barely ten minutes remaining and after the match Kumble questioned whether Australia had played within the spirit of the game. Ponting angrily defended his integrity and Sutherland said following such a tense finish it was understandable that emotions were running high.

"It was a classic Test match, it went right down to the wire," Sutherland said. "Anil Kumble had a fantastic Test match as a captain and as a player, and no doubt he was disappointed in the end.

"To some extent it's not surprising in that emotionally charged environment that he would say what he has. It is only appropriate in that circumstance for Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble to get together and to talk about exactly what differences of opinion there may be in that regard."

The match was marred by poor umpiring, contentious catches, queries over walking and a report that resulted in Harbhajan Singh being suspended for three Tests for making a racist comment to Andrew Symonds. Brad Hogg might also face the match referee over allegedly using offensive language during the match but Sutherland was unsure when or if a hearing would take place.

"I don't know any of the detail," he said. "As I understand it a report hasn't specifically been laid yet but it may well be pending."

The controversies during and after the game have taken the gloss of Australia's record-equalling 16th consecutive Test victory. Sutherland said it should have been no surprise that Australia would fight tooth and nail to win the match.

"It has always been the Australian way to play the game of cricket hard but fair," he said. "Tough and uncompromising is certainly the way in which all Australian teams have played no matter who has been the captain and this team under Ricky Ponting is no exception."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo