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November 10, 2008
Ricky Ponting has defended himself against claims that he put himself above the team on the fourth day in Nagpur and voiced his disappointment over criticism from Allan Border, the former Australian captain. India won the match by 172 runs, giving them a 2-0 series victory, after their chances improved dramatically on Sunday afternoon when Ponting employed part-time bowlers to lift the flagging over-rate.
The move saved Ponting from a possible suspension for next week's first Test against New Zealand, although he was fined 20% of his match fee and his players were docked 10% by the match referee Chris Broad. Ponting's decision also eased the pressure for the batsmen after India had slipped to 166 for 6 and they quickly increased their lead from 252 and eventually set the visitors a victory target of 382.
The tactics frustrated Border, whose name is on the series trophy with Sunil Gavaskar, and he said during the television commentary "I'm glad Ricky can't read my mind right know, because he's not going to like it". Border captained the team in 93 Tests in the 1980s and 90s and is a current Cricket Australia director.
"To tell you the truth I'm a little bit disappointed with some of the criticism, particularly from former Australian captains and CA [Cricket Australia] board members," Ponting said. "I had Jason Krejza bowling at one end, who ended up taking 12 wickets in the game, and Cameron White - he'd been the No. 1-picked spinner in the first three Test matches - operating from the other end for a couple of overs.
"That didn't work out the way I'd have liked, Michael Clarke was the next choice, but he'd been off the field ill and couldn't bowl until 3.10pm. And in the situation we were nine overs down." If a team is six overs behind schedule the captain faces the possibility of a suspension.
Ponting was upset by suggestions in the Australia media that he was more concerned about the possibility of a ban than a quick end to the India innings. "The thing I'm most disappointed about is there seems to be this inference out there that I've put myself totally ahead of the team," he said.
"Anybody that knows me, or knows the way I play my cricket or operate around the Australian team, or any team, would hopefully not say that's the case. I'd like to think as far as team players go, that there haven't been many more that have ever played for Australia that would do more than I have for the team."
Ponting said he had an obligation "to play the game in the right spirit" and try to bowl 90 overs in the day. "We speak about it at every team meeting," he said. "I've told the bowlers, the whole team, for a couple of years now that if we keep going the way we are there's going to be some time or moment where it's really going to come back and hurt us. I'm not saying that's right now, but there have been other times where we've had to do that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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