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September 14, 2006
Michael Brown, Cricket Australia's acting chief executive, has described Ricky Ponting's latest breach of the ICC code of conduct during his side's DLF cup win against the West Indies as "unacceptable". Brown did concede, however, that he was heartened by Ponting's apology to Asad Rauf, the umpire, his team and the public.
Ponting appraoched Rauf after the umpire called a wide in the innings' 33rd over and questioned his decision. The incident led to Ponting being fined his entire match fee. "Let's be clear, Cricket Australia doesn't condone any actions that go outside the Spirit of Cricket. We've worked very hard with Ricky and our players to ensure it is observed at all times," Brown told the Melbourne-based The Age.
"It's a concern for Ricky and it's a concern for us," he added. "But the fact he's taken the initiative to publicly and privately address these issues will ensure he and his team go forward from here. We've got to be positive in that regard."
Ponting spoke to Brown after his side's remarkable and ultimately comfortable win over West Indies in the tri-series opener on Tuesday. "As the game finished late last night I was very keen to understand what had happened and obviously very keen to reaffirm our position, and to make clear to him that it was unacceptable," Brown said.
"I'm very heartened to see that Ricky has taken it upon himself to acknowledge his actions and publicly apologise. In the end what matters is that the Australian cricket team will continue to play this series hard and fair ... We look forward to him learning from the experience."
He might have to do that quickly for there are fears now that any further outbursts now or in the Ashes later this year could lead to a possible suspension for a Test. This was Ponting's second such offence in the past year - the other took place during the second Test in Bangladesh in April - and it is why the charge was upgraded to a level-two offence. Ponting was also fined during the fourth Ashes Test in 2005 for an outburst directed at the England dressing room after he was run out by the substitute fielder Gary Pratt.
The level-two offence - serious dissent - can carry a suspension of two ODIs or one Test, and the match referee is entitled to consider the player's previous history. The newspaper said than an ICC source had indicated Ponting had been warned after his latest breach that he was on dangerous ground and could face a ban were he to slip up again in similar fashion.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala