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November 10, 2006
After trying more than a dozen times on Wednesday Australian captain Ricky Ponting finally got the opportuntiy to apologise to BCCI chief Sharad Pawar on the phone on Thursday over the incident during the presentation of the Champions Trophy last Sunday.
Peter Young, Cricket Australia spokesperson told AAP that Pawar has now accepted Ponting's assurance that no disrespect was intended. "It was a very amicable telephone call and the two of them decided they would take a sporting approach and move on, " he said.
"Ricky offered an apology on behalf of himself and the team and it was accepted in good spirit." Ponting's apology comes close on the heels of Martyn's who, on Thursday, had said that he was sorry for any misconduct . On Friday Indian media had quoted top BCCI officials saying that Pawar had indeed spoken to Ponting, and as far as the BCCI was concerned the matter was closed.
Ponting and his team-mate Damien's Martyn's conduct, where they were seen trying to usher Pawar off the victory podium in their eagerness to celebrate, drew ire from the Indian officials and media. Pawar, himself had called the Australians' attitude as "totally uncivilised".
Ponting, who arrived back home on Tuesday, said there was no offence intended and he was unaware there was a problem until he saw the television footage of the incident on Thursday morning. "It doesn't look great on television, but I think the more times you look at it, you probably realise that there's no intent to offend anybody," he said.
"We all probably got a little bit caught up in the excitement of the moment. That's why I think it's so important for me to be in personal contact (with Pawar) and if there is anything lingering on, to get it sorted out as quickly as we can."
James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, admitted the episode had the potential to damage the image of the Australian team.
"I think it's definitely a concern about how this has been perceived in India," he said. "I think everyone in Australia sees and understands that it was certainly an unfortunate incident and can perhaps understand to some extent how it may have happened.
"The disrespect that people have gathered from this is obviously more heartfelt in India and that's something that we need to accept and obviously deal with."
Sutherland said Cricket Australia chairman Creagh O'Connor had spoken to BCCI senior vice-president I.S. Bindra on Thursday to pass on Australia's concern.
Since Australia and India had recently signed an agreement where both teams would play Test and/or one-day matches against each other annually for the next four years, Sutherland felt there will be plent of opportunities for his team to make amends."There'll be plenty of opportunity for them to make amends and to show the Indian public what they really think about India and its people."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.