Peter English
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Former Australasia editor, ESPNcricinfo

Open your eyes, Ricky

Australia's captain needs greater awareness of his team's actions

Peter English

January 8, 2008

Comments: 235 | Text size: A | A



Ricky Ponting is not a popular man in India © AFP
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Somebody, probably a preschool teacher, needs to explain simply to Ricky Ponting about the damage that has been caused by his team during the Sydney Test. While India burns and fumes over issues ranging from race to umpiring and sportsmanship, Ponting continues to believe his team has done nothing wrong.

It is extraordinary that he doesn't understand the significance of India's threat to boycott the tour or Australia's direct and indirect roles in the lead-up to it. He is as temporarily blind as some of the officials were at the SCG.

On a day when there was a call for Ponting, Australia's most successful captain, to be sacked, his only concession was that he would sit down with Anil Kumble and talk about the situation "if Anil thinks that is necessary". "But I'd be really surprised if he thought it was."

If it's necessary? At the time Ponting was speaking to the Australian the entire tour was in doubt. A day earlier Kumble had accused Australia of not playing in the spirit of the game, an insult that should be even more damaging than "monkey" or "bastard" to any self-respecting cricketer. Obviously it's not to Ponting, who remains convinced the match was played hard, fairly and properly.

He still does not realise how bad the situation has become, which is where the expert at dealing with children comes in. "Yes, Ricky, I know you won the Test, and it was very, very exciting. Yes, you were a very good boy for giving Michael Clarke a bowl right at the end. But, and this is the hard part, sometimes cricket is not all about winning. Your team was very naughty and now India are very, very upset."

Ponting does not believe it. "I don't think there is much, if any, animosity between the players on both teams," he said, showing his lack of grasp on the issue. "Sure, there was a lot of emotion flying around from our side and the Indian side at the end of the match. I'm more than willing to sit down and talk to Anil."

 
 
"Yes, Ricky, I know you won the Test, and it was very, very exciting. Yes, you were a very good boy for giving Michael Clarke a bowl right at the end. But, and this is the hard part, sometimes cricket is not all about winning. Your team was very naughty and now India are very, very upset"
 

In his column in the same paper titled "I did the right thing by the game", Ponting said everyone in the Australian team knows how important the spirit of cricket is to the way they play. Not on the evidence of the Sydney Test, with the contentious catching rulings, sledging, poor sportsmanship, persistent appeals on flagging umpires, and ungracious celebrations.

The Indian players would laugh at Ponting's suggestion over his team's attitude and his view on "running to the umpires". Ponting passed on the information about Harbhajan Singh's racist comment to Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor, which eventually led to Harbhajan getting a three-Test ban and the tourists considering going home.

"Anyone who knows me and the way I play will be aware I do not make a point of running to umpires and making complaints," Ponting wrote. After his aggressive exchange with an Indian journalist at the end of the Test, where he said anyone who doubted his integrity over catches should not be in the room, Ponting is losing credibility by the day. The only problem is it's only those outside the team who can see it.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Lears78 on (January 9, 2008, 9:05 GMT)

Ricky Ponting and the Australian team having done nothing wrong whatsoever.

The Australian team are a target, because they are at the top of the cricket ladder and have been for a very long time. They hold just about every record and trophy. Simply they are awesome. They play hard, and they play fair. Bottom line.

Perhaps if other teams toughened up, played as hard, and got on with the game, then perhaps the Australian team would be tested and stretched and possibly given a sniff of competition!

Why suddenly is poor Harbhajan Singh and the Indian team being seen as the victim, by all and sundry. I didn't realise racial abuse was "in the spirit of the game". They are sore losers and acting disgracefully!

Posted by Ryan_Donnelly on (January 9, 2008, 4:28 GMT)

The Aussies definitely have nurtured an uncompromising killer instinct and this has moved the game away from most peoples acceptance. Clearly this needs to be fixed, but lets not get too carried away with that for the moment. At issue is a racial slur by a player who has done it before using the same phrase as the crowd at Mumbai. Not a playful name as some have suggested but one that is directed at nobody else but the only black player in the team. Mike Proctor, who has seen the worst of racism, recognised that it wasn't some kind of misunderstanding. Sledging is a worldwide phenomenon and all the counties have very different cultures. Who decides where the line in the sand might lie? Taunts about a blokes wife who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer crossed all the lines. Picking out the black man and calling him a monkey is right up there too. Some of the Aussies need a good shake but so too some of the Indians. It draws a long bow to suggest that the Aussies are alone.

Posted by BN_from_india on (January 9, 2008, 4:22 GMT)

Alright there were too many decisions which were wrong, too many debatable, too many result-altering. But, honestly, is it the first time that this kind of situation has ever happened ? Why were neutral umpires introduced, if not for contentious decisions from umpires which caused everyone to doubt if they were partial. So, neutral or not, umpires have always made mistakes and how much ever technology is used there is always going to be mistakes, albeit to a lesser degree. Next, in regard to the "spirit of the game", whenever India said that "we will meet aggression with aggression" it is quite clear that they intend to "sledge if Aussies do". Now sledging for whatever reason even by provocation - is it ok ? Only if two hands clap, noise is produced. That does not mean to take whatever is thrown at you but to channel the reaction in the right way. I dont have many words left to mention about the "racism" controversy. All I want to say is this is just a sport and play it as one.MOVE ON!

Posted by melkontar on (January 9, 2008, 3:49 GMT)

Wow this is a poor and one sided article. Let's look at the reasons Ponting is being berated: 1) He claimed a catch which he 'grassed'. He had the ball completely under control before he or it hit the ground. That's why he's claiming he caught it. Whether that's a correct interpretation of a 'catch' is a matter for some discussion, but I would certainly claim that as a catch if I had complete control before I landed. 2) His players didn't walk. Well, neither did Indian players in the recent ODI series. What goes around, comes around. 3) He raised his finger for the Clarke catch. That was exactly what was decided on at the beginning of the test series, according to Ponting. 4) Persistent appealing. The Indians being upset at this is like an Aussie cricket fan complaining that Roger Federer wins all the time. 5) He celebrated winning a test match. This is just laughable, after the way H.Singh celebrated the wicket of Ponting...

Posted by thebat on (January 9, 2008, 3:43 GMT)

You are a disgrace Peter English. Do you really expect a professional sportsman (of the highest calibre at that) to posses a desirte to win and not celebrate a win after such a tight fought contest? Prefessionalism always brings a stronger desire to win, just take a look at the diving and simulation in professional football, the protests in sailing, and the drugs in cycling and athletics. Appealing to an umpire, waiting for an umpire to make a decision and forgetting to shake the opponents hands after a win are not in the same league as these examples I have given above. Ricky has done nothing wrong. If India had of won the game from a similar position they would have celebrated in the same manner. But they didn't and they cannot get over it. As for the racism issue, Harbajan and the Indian public have a history with this exact phrase so he should know better, Ricky was simply following the rules he was playing under. They got caught, they should suffer.

Posted by T-Prince on (January 9, 2008, 3:21 GMT)

I live in Canada and play cricket here at a high level. we were always taught by our coaches to always play with dignity and pride...ricky ponting does not play with any of those qualities, which makes him one of the most most unrespected players in the game and definately should never be known as a legend or one of the greats of cricket.

Posted by AussieCricket on (January 9, 2008, 3:16 GMT)

I have never seen such a big whinge since I was 12 and playing in the backyard at home. Every person who has ever played cricket understands that you win some, you lose, calls go can go both ways. The Indian team and supporters need to stop crying like their mother just pulled them off the teet and either accept it or go home. They have a choice. Ricky and the Australian team can be proud of their efforts on and off the field.If someone questions your integrity, especially some minute reporter, of course your going to let them know that they are in the wrong.It's intersting all these people with their opinions that Ponting should be dropped.Absolute load of rubbish! Until your playing at the highest level and have the ability that these players have, leave your ideals to the backyard bbq where you can have your cheese with your whines.I'd like to see the current Indian team go home and send a second rate team over. At least they might play with some HEART Go the Mighty Aussies. 4-0

Posted by AugiTh on (January 8, 2008, 10:07 GMT)

Ponting and his cohorts need a lesson on humility. I feel cricket australia should enlist people like Sachin and Federer to teach them how to play with dignity and still remain world champions. Months back Gavaskar mentioned the chances of the australian team getting banged up if they were not to put their acts together. The way things seem to proceed, you dont need much commonsense to extrapolate such a situation in future. When Ponting says "We play our cricket hard and fair", I can only visualise a see-saw: HARD high up the sky and FAIR low down to earth! An honest-aussie woulod soon be an oxymoron!

Posted by punter1973 on (January 8, 2008, 10:04 GMT)

Ricky as a Player and Captain has done what's right, appealed for the catch, he may or may not have grassed it. That's why there are two umpires, they should make the decisions and let them do it !!!

Well well, India lost the match badly, as usual Harbajan thinks he's the greatest spinner when India has lost the match. Don't be sore losers, take it in the right spirit and play the game, the players play the game and the others will attend to what needs to be done. I guess the Indians have to make a big fuss since, if they are drubbed 4 nil, they cannot go home, their fans will burn their houses down, they need to find excuses !!!!

Posted by Kourse_Bluth on (January 8, 2008, 10:04 GMT)

Why everybody is rallying behind the Indian team, is out of common sense. Things do happen on the field and sometimes they become ugly but is it necessary to blame any player for the faults of officials? Ponting is right as a captain,he would love to win a test match like any other team. I'm surprised by Kumble's complain of so called team spirit. Why did he keep quiet when his team got Inzimam out in one of the one dayers when they toured Pakistan. That time everything was within the law, if that was then I don't see any problem with Ricky Ponting or Clarke claiming a catch. It's the duty of the umpire to upheld or turn down. Now ICC has taken a pretty idiotic decision by removing Bucknor for the next test. From where I see it Mark Benson committed more mistakes than Bucknor, why the Indians are not going for his blood? beyond me. And for racism I hold BCCI responsible for not shunning the matter when it took place in the last series. Just forget it and it's time to move on.

Posted by Mukund_N on (January 8, 2008, 10:01 GMT)

Its probably within the rules of the game to not walk inspite of having nicked the ball to 5th slip, to appeal inspite of having collected the ball on the second bounce and to finally claim that everyone played within the spirit of the game. But then, why try to be the epitome of honesty and sign the pre-match agreement? This is either a joke or plain hypocrisy

Posted by Shinypants on (January 8, 2008, 10:00 GMT)

The ICC has requested captains report all racist comments immediately to the umpires. Ponting was therefore entirely correct. The referees decision is nothing to do with him and is subject to appeal. India is welcome to return home and cancel the Sept tour if they feel so aggreived. The catches were decided on a pre tour agreement and any claims by India should be seen as such. Anil Kumble has made references to the sportsmanship of Australians. As such he should be specific about his complaints or simply go home. Put up or shut up. And before Mr. English's desire for a return to a glorious bygone era come on, remember that the English cricket Captain openly called Sir Donald Bradman a coward on the field. The greatest insult that could be given in the post WW2 era. So much for sledging being a modern invention.

Posted by danmcb on (January 8, 2008, 9:59 GMT)

well put Peter. Ponting has a blind spot bigger than a Cyclops driving an articulated lorry. Someone, very high in authority and for whom he has respect (who could it be though?) needs to sit hom down and spell it out.

Posted by TianGe on (January 8, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

I agree with your article and believe the problem with Australia is not so much the lack of sportsmanship - the part that disgusts me is Ricky trying to claim the moral upper ground while it was pretty clear the Aussies were not playing to the moral standards they claim to. If the Australian team would admit to that I wouldn't have a problem. If they say they're going to walk etc be honest about catches then do it. If they didn't make these kind of claims then for me there wouldn't be an issue...

Posted by Fej21 on (January 8, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

Whether or not Ponting has done anything wrong, or thinks he has, this article is right in that he should probably display more tact and awareness in the current situation, rather than the indignant indifference he's showing. And that's coming from an australian fan

However i think it should be noted that Ponting (and Kumble) was instructed prior to the match by Mike Proctor to report any racial comments during the game. Hence, Ponting is not being a hypocrite in this respect at least. Further, reading the transcript of the interview by the journalist whom Ponting was allegdly aggressive towards... well it's quite clear that the journalist was trying to antagonize ponting. Although it's a shame that Ponting was indignant, i think most of us would be if our integrity was being questioned in front of the world.

This whole crisis is a real shame, and i hope things are resolved as quickly as possible

Posted by fiyah on (January 8, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

@shaitan4: OK. So lets allow the umpires to make the decisions on whether a player is out or not in ALL cricketing decisions. In which case Ponting cannot be allowed to weigh in on a decision on the field if he is unwilling to weigh in on a decision while batting. It must go both ways.

Posted by Zafrul on (January 8, 2008, 9:52 GMT)

Its about time that we, the cricket boards in the subcontinent, should take a firm stand at this continued double standards of the developed world. The question is "Can we afford to?" Yes we certainly can. Let them try and run cricket without India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and be profitable. Mind you, its only when the world cup was taken to the subcon that all realized what sort of money is there to make. It was disgusting to see Ricky being so rude with the journalist when his own integrity was questioned. Did he not know that he himeslf nicked one back to the keeper? If its about racism, then the way the entire episode is being handled, it itself is racism at its highest. Think of doing the same to Symonds in India.

Posted by demoncricket on (January 8, 2008, 9:52 GMT)

I agree with Peter. I think Ponting has become a victim of success, his and the teams. The ICC believes it is up to Kumble and Ponting to sit down and resolve the problems and it is up to both men to organise such, no, one man that being Ponting. Pontings' display on Sunday was disgraceful he and his team intimidated the umpires and displayed a petulance regarding the catches and missed decisions. On the catching their was also one grounded in South Africa on the weekend in a test so this problem was not isolated. Lastly i cannot see how changing an umpire resolves anything- wow what happens if the umpires in Perth stuff up? Surely it is time for technology, but will the unfair Australians agree?

Posted by Mukund_N on (January 8, 2008, 9:51 GMT)

And I hope Kumble calls off the pre-series agreement with Ponting. Perhaps, the aussies were totally innocent when they appealed for the nicks of Ganguly and Dhoni. In which case, they're incapable of judging if the catch was taken cleanly or not which renders this agreement useless anyways.

Removing Bucknor for the 3rd test may not be a great decision, but equally harsh was the 3 match ban for Harbhajan. Mike Procter claims he was "satisfied beyond doubt" that Harbhajan meant to offend Symonds based on his race. I wonder what that piece of evidence was that so convinced Procter!!

Posted by Mukund_N on (January 8, 2008, 9:49 GMT)

Ofcourse Ricky does understand the seriousness of the situation. He's only trying to portray Indians as sore losers with his seemingly benign claims that cricket itself is more important than either of the teams and that the Aussies enjoyed playing the 2 tests. Wonder if he would have been the same angel if the Indians had managed to draw the test. The fact is that Indians are loud and clumsy while the Aussies are silent and caustic. They know to pass absolutely nasty comments without getting caught on camera.

During the aussies' ODIs in India, Ponting accused India of being whiny when they couldn't tolerate the aussies' persistent comments and took it to the officials. Now, where is the same person who felt on-field issues must be settled on field?

Posted by Trevmeister on (January 8, 2008, 9:48 GMT)

I'm a neutral cricket fan and I believe Ponting's catch on Dhoni was a fair catch. More importantly: HE believes it was (that much is clear from the way he reacted to that reporter's questioning). Yes he grounded it and yes he knows he grounded it, but that's not the issue. He caught that ball a metre above the ground and had it completely under control before he grounded it. I may be wrong in this interpretation but then so is Ponting. It's a question of interpretation not cheating. This whole issue of honesty in walking and claiming catches needs to be taken out of the game. Use the technology! That way nobody gets accused of cheating. I've seen Herchelle Gibbs take a low catch and when the umpire asked him it he'd taken it he said he didn't know and gestured for it to be reffered. Instead of him being commended for honesty he was chastised for asking for a 3rd umpire referral (apparently you're not allowed to)!

Posted by Linden on (January 8, 2008, 9:44 GMT)

India deserve sympathy. Their golden generation has come to Australia with one last chance to achieve something meaningful (20/20 doesn't count) and has fallen foul of some unfortunate umpiring and failed to bat out 70 overs on a benign 5th day wicket against a side lacking a noted spinner.

Their response to losing has been pathetic. Remove the umpire (dear Mr Bucknor)? Suspend the tour? Blimey. It's only six months since they were complaining about jellybeans while Sreesanth tried to kill Pietersen with a bouncer. Of course, he meant it in the "true spirit of the game" ...

Still, they've go Roebuck on their side. Sheesh!

Posted by sowright on (January 8, 2008, 9:44 GMT)

Ok, Peter I will concede. You can have Steve Waugh's nickname if you want it so badly. I don't see why Ricky Ponting should be made a scapegoat for incidents that more correctly need to be addressed by the Indian team (lack of discipline) and the umpires (getting decisions right). Umpires decide who is in or out regardless of the players. The ICC then may decide if the umpire is doing his job. Players decide whether to make racist remarks .... or not. The authorities then decide whether he has a case to answer or not. In my opinion, a lot of the statements made about this is pathetic pandering to the power of Indian money by journalists, commentators and authorities. Perhaps it would be better for international cricket to not have a member such as India who wants to bully to get it's own way.

Posted by Jeremy68 on (January 8, 2008, 9:43 GMT)

Open your eyes, Peter.

I refer to your statement, "Not on the evidence of the Sydney Test, with the contentious catching rulings, sledging, poor sportsmanship, persistent appeals on flagging umpires, and ungracious celebrations".

Of these, contentious catching rulings is the only charge that can be aimed exclusively against the Australians, which isn't to suggest that it's not serious.

The problem with the tone of your article is that it reading it you'd think that Harbhajan was a saintly martyr, and that Anil Kumble wasn't under any duty as his captain to tell him to pull his head in. This applies whether you he's guilty of making a racial sledge or not. You don't even mention him in your article, yet he displayed typical "Aussie" arrogance and insensitivity. Try a little even-handedness next time.

Posted by Mondo21 on (January 8, 2008, 9:42 GMT)

Steve Bucknor should not have been replaced. Obviously, umpiring as a profession is extremely demanding and umpires are under constant scrutiny and pressure and do tend to make the odd mistake at times, and yes on occasion two or more times. This does not mean that he should be dumped after one or two bad decisions.

Why are some people in the cricketing community after Ricky's head? I don't see anything wrong with the man or his decision making as captain. So what if hes playing down some relatively minor issues that everyone seems to think are major? That's his job and he does it well. As far as im concerned hes a pretty fair bloke who on day four took what looked like a catch and then declared he had not caught it.

Cricket is a high paying, competetive sport, of course its going to get tense at times especially with the number of fellow countrymen/women watching from both sides. I say get on with it.

Finally, theres no room for racism.

Posted by andhramki on (January 8, 2008, 9:41 GMT)

I have been observing Australians on field and off field behaviour for last couple of years. The moment they feel like opponent getting stronger, they go to the player and use abusive words and mentally degrade the player. This attaitude started from steve waugh tenure itself and ricky pointing is mastering hte art. They are going to such an extreme step to make opponent loose the game which spoils the spirit of cricket game and people loos interest at the game in future. Whole australia team should be banned for next 10 years. Let them learn behavour from other teams like WI. Team like india become aggresive on field just to not let australians dominate with abusive words. The worst captain i have ever seen ricky pointing should be sacked immediately to teach him a lesson.

Posted by cricobserver on (January 8, 2008, 9:36 GMT)

It is rather spurious and farcical to suggest that the Indians (or any other team for that matter) should "stop complaining" and just play better cricket,when modern technology is mercilessly exposing the game for what it is - 50% skill and the other half a matter of human error, or "luck" as one politely put it. Australian supporters argue that it plays both ways and one should make ones own luck. And that is precisely the point. just how is this Australian team going about making their own luck? To a large number of people out here the Australians are down right arrogant, cocky and in my opinion intimidating. There is little doubt that the aura of unequivocal superiority that they aggressively project on the field does influence umpiring decisions. Bucknor may have been justified in not doubting his LBW decision of Dravid. These are not usually referred to the third umpire. But the decision not to refer Ganguly's diamissal is inexplicable. Australians - learn to be humble please.

Posted by afridi102 on (January 8, 2008, 9:36 GMT)

I think that article was not good. And i read a lot of comments agaisnt ricky ponting and australians team. I am not a big fan of them but i really don't think australia have done something bad in the sidney test match. India loose the match due to bad batting on the last day and mainly due TO UMPIRING. So in losing the match they can't blame australian team or ricky ponting. And i hope all of you remember the last Odi played between australia and india in india recently, when murali kartik won the match for india and when he came to recieve his man of the match award, he admitt that he was out catch behind but the umpire said not out. So things like this happen. And all palyers appeal even if they know that batsmen are not out. So i don't see anything wrong with australia and ponting in the last match. Some talked about the australian celebration, i think that was an awnser to indian celbrations in twenty20 when harbajhan and company started dancing on the field with match not finish

Posted by Shinypants on (January 8, 2008, 9:34 GMT)

Peter. Cannot disagree more. "Your team was very naughty" For what I ask? For not walking? Take a good hard look at your own county system, where they stopped walking 20 years ago because now they are professionals who rely on their performance to earn. For appealing too much? Get real they all appeal for not outs. India invented that 30 years ago. For ignoring the opposition at the end of the game? Fair enough, but remember the World cup final of 1997 when Mark Taylor had to push past hundreds of hangers on to congratulate Arjuna after the entire Australian team was ignored in the excitement. For bad umpiring? Not Pontings problem. For the Referrees decision? Not Pontings problem. For an Australian of Jamaican heritage being called a "Monkey"? Harb. judged by the referee, subject to appeal. Ponting should have ignored ICC specific instructions according to you. If they can't hack it India are welcome to leave and cancel the Sept tour. Catches claimed? Prove he was wrong.

Posted by Shaitan4 on (January 8, 2008, 9:16 GMT)

I agree with a lot of things that people have said on this forum, but to say it's bad sportsmanship not to walk is something that shouldn't be used to criticize the Australian, or any side for that fact. It is not the players' perogative to walk until the umpire has given his decision. That is why we have umpires - they are there to decide whether the player is out or not, not the player to decide for the umpire. I could bet any of you that if Sachin Tendulkar, or Sourav Ganguly, or Rahul Dravid edged it and was given not out he wouldn't walk. In the great scheme of things, if you don't walk, everything will be evened out through that great thing called human error.

Posted by Ramesh_Bonthala on (January 8, 2008, 9:13 GMT)

Whatever the outcome of the result, Eventhough indians lost the match. Match winners are India. Really it is shame for the Ricy pointing. They like to win but they dont like to loose the match. To win the match they can do anything. Shame for the Ricky, Gilchrist and Symonds and clarke.Even though if indians loose the four matches there is nothing much to think about that.Its better to ban the series better and give the Test match and One day series cup to Australia. They dont like to loose the match, anywhere they can can with their minds not out to say that out.

Posted by SMoiz on (January 8, 2008, 9:12 GMT)

Sydney test will be remembered in history for umpiring blunders and questionable game spirit of Australian captain Ricky Ponting. in this test technology was available but not used, referral options were available but not utilized, nothing was caught on camera about the said conversation between bhajji and symonds yet the match referee slammed 3 match ban on bhajji its ridiculous.

Fear of losing has taken over game spirit from Australian team they even forgot that they have been watched by fans all over the world and each action of theirs will defame gentlemen's game.

ICC must wake up to SAVE CRICKET and ENSURE THAT EACH PLAYING NATION - PLAYS THE GAME WITH TEAM SPIRIT.

ICC must also ensure that JUSTICE IS DONE TO BHAJJI AND MILLIONS OF INDIAN FANS

Posted by MKrishnaswamy on (January 8, 2008, 9:10 GMT)

I played most of my serious cricket in India in the seventies, when the phrase 'It's not cricket.' actually meant something. But today, it is just wishful thinking to believe that captains or players will adhere to any code of gentlemanly conduct. So let us not blame Ponting for this mess.

What is ridiculous is that the ICC does not use the technology available today to improve the standard of umpiring. For example, slow motion replays are used to determine if a fielder inadvertently touched the rope when he fields the ball on the boundary.

But the ICC refuses to use the SAME technology to determine if the batsman nicked the ball on its way to the keeper or whether there was an inside edge on to pad, the argument being that this is somehow sacrilegious and contrary to the spirit of the game. This is insanity. We should use technology to help improve umpiring decisions instead of using it to conduct pointless post-mortems.

Poor umpiring has killed this series.

Posted by Indian10Raj007 on (January 8, 2008, 9:06 GMT)

Ponting is a Good player there is no doubt. He is only thinking break the record of 16 Match winning of S.Waugh... So there is no aggressive cricket and all...

Posted by Storm76 on (January 8, 2008, 9:05 GMT)

"I'm not here to win friends, I'm here to win the Ashes", roared Douglas Jardine before the start of the infamous Bodyline series way back in 1931-32. Australian media termed the remark and the series unfair.

But what about Australia's attitude against the subcontinental teams?? I'm an Indian but not a rabid jingoist, I love the gentleman's game, Cricket. If you take out the gentlemanliness from the game, it's then reduced to verbal duel which is very much a part of a club football game.

I'm not against sledging and friendly banter that tests the mental toughness of teams and the players under gruelling test conditions world over. However, the point is if sledging of certain kind is allowed in Australia and they play it that way, friendly or at times overtly aggressive gestures and remarks is also allowed elsewhere, more so in the subcontinent. So I think the Australians should be prepared for this and not be cry babies.

Posted by fiyah on (January 8, 2008, 9:05 GMT)

There is every evidence to support unsportsman-like behaviour from the Aussie captain at least:

1. Not walking when he has clearly nicked the ball. If he does this he cannot then expect to be trusted in "Grey area" decisions.

2. Not leading by example in respecting the traditional honour system of cricket. Thus the other players on the team follow suit (re: Michael Clarke).

3. Ponting must have known he pressed ball to ground when he caught the ball. Had the ball fallen from his hand upon making contact with the ground it would have been adjudged a no-catch. In that same vein if a players uses ball-on-ground contact to support his fall in anyway the benefit should go to the batsman.

Ponting cannot on one hand leave things up to the Umpire (when he is batting) and on the other hand expect to have a say in an important grey area decision.

Posted by jofler67 on (January 8, 2008, 9:04 GMT)

To all you so called cricket fans who have so quickly turned on the aussies should take a good hard look at themselves and any team which they follow.If they can with all honesty and with their hand on their hearts say they have never benifted from a incorrect decision going their way i apologise otherwise grow up and stop being so hypocritical.Unfortunatly sport is now abusiness and with that winning is everything these peoples wages deend on their sucess/we all made this monster,everyone one of us even India the highest earning cricket board so as i said lets grow up and get on with the cricket

Posted by Cooch on (January 8, 2008, 9:01 GMT)

I agree that Ricky Ponting seems to have lost sight of the wider implications of his actions... if you are going to accuse someone of something as serious as racism you better have evidence, which is hard to produce for a one word comment made in the heat of the moment. If the incident isn't so serious - and Andrew Symonds didn't seem too offended - it might be better not to seize upon it in an attempt to wring maximum advantage. These issues go beyond winning the next test in Perth, as the reaction from the Indian players and public shows.

Posted by greg1 on (January 8, 2008, 8:53 GMT)

i could not agree more with this column. Pointing is blinded by his own arrogance if he thinks he and his team played within the spirit of the game.also to possum, it is dissapointing to see bucknor replaced? did you watch the test match at all? his decisons cost india the game, and its not the first time hes made such horrific mistakes, its been going on for a number of years now. if he had stayed, india would not have, and it would have changed the game as we know it forever. thank god the icc took him off the game, cricket has truly benefited from this decision.

Posted by pka1982 on (January 8, 2008, 8:50 GMT)

This is a reply to Mr Cook. Replays showed that ricky ponting grounded the catch you are reffering to. The worst part is that his eyes were focussed on the ball when he grounded it. After that not only did he claim the catch but also reacted as if something was wrong when the umpire gave notout. Later he fumed at indian journalist for questioning his integrity. Why should ricky not be called a cheat and a Liar? The picture of rickys catch grounded is available for you in all the leading indian news papers. Fell free to have a look at it.

This is exactly what Mr. Peter English is refering to. So wake up buddy and try to see the facts.

Posted by ankit123123 on (January 8, 2008, 8:48 GMT)

Why is it that it is dissappointing to see bucknor replaced when there is overwhelming evidence that he has a bias and may have even fixed the match. remember 4 out of 6 decisions wrongly against tendulkar in a series against australia where bucknor was a major perpetrator, amongst many others. also "possum," if you feel so aggrieved at bucknor's dismissal, what about the ban placed on bhajji. the evidence for this is next to null. in fact, sachin - who is far more credible than any one in the australian team has also supported bhajji. india did show fight, what are they to do if 3 of their top batsman were given out incorrectly (jaffer - the ball was a noball, ganguly - clarke grounded it after much like ponting did as clarke tumbled over, dravid - pathetic decision by the umpire who thought the ball was edged. credit to the humility in which kumble handled himself. australian cricket, particularly ponting, is a black mark on australia's otherwise egalitarian and friendly society.

Posted by Cricket4World on (January 8, 2008, 8:46 GMT)

Peter you have lost my(and a lot of other people's) respect for your journalism. To all you "wanna-be cricket fans" writing in saying Ponting should be sacked, Aussies are cheats and what I find the most disturbing, that Racism in Sport or for that matter in Life, is acceptable or not a big deal. I'm not saying that Harbhajan did or didn't say it. But to try to justify Racism as "Not a big deal" is inhumane. I Remember Darren Lehmann copping on the chin for a racial slur after being dismissed a few years back and rightly so. Racism has no place in sport. The other big deal in this game was the umpiring. Perhaps one of the poorest umpired Tests I can recall. And it went both ways but India definately copped the worst of it. I can understand their annoyance. That is no reason to suggest the Aussie players of being unsporting or lacking integrity or the Spirit of the game. I consider myself a bit of a purist of the game and I hope that these accusations don't ruin a promosing series.

Posted by NIEL on (January 8, 2008, 8:44 GMT)

Interesting posts here and good to see some posts by Australian friends too.Take this: If a player wants to propose a rule that "In case of contentious catches, the captain should be asked for confirmation" then at least that player should be the epitome of truth, otherwise he should never propose this idea. This is the reason everyone is asking questions to Mr. R.Ponting. He is the one who proposed this idea at the start of this match and 1. He didn't walk after edging the Ganguly delilvery to Dhoni, 2. He may or may not be sure of Clarke's catch, he should have asked umpire to ask for third umpire, doubtful decisions are to be given by umpires only, in favor of batsman 3. He appealed for Dhoni catch, for which each replay suggest that he didn't take it cleanly. 4. After all this, he is still supporting his appeals after the match. Isn't the spirit of the game being affected?Either you always go by the umpire & win, noone will blame you Or be brave enough to be truthful always.

Posted by Boorugu on (January 8, 2008, 8:41 GMT)

Article is bang on. Its about being fair. Claiming a catch which is clearly a bump ball and appealing for a catch after the ball has been grounded. Clearly, Australians have given new rules to the cricketing world. What does the law state about walking when someone gets bowled? Does he walk then? To call this test match a win, Australians should Hang their head in shame. Get HELL with your integrity Mr. Ponting... I dont think even your family members will agree with you. You should be ashamed of your self.

Posted by fiyah on (January 8, 2008, 8:39 GMT)

@gablet... No one is seeking to criticise Ponting for being competitive. What he is being criticised for is his integrity. Can any supporter of the Aussie cricket team justify a batsman staying at the crease to benefit from reasonable doubt in favour of the batsman when it is clear to one and all (and most importantly, to the batsman himself) that he has nicked it?! Cricket is one of the few sports in which there is a traditional honour system in that players will sometimes give themselves out when they know they were beaten fair and square. Ponting has eroded that tradition.

Posted by NickMRao on (January 8, 2008, 8:37 GMT)

Enough is enough. It is time that someone stood up to the arrogant Australian Cricket team. Amongst test playing nations the only country that can do that at the present time is India. In my view, India should dig their heals in. This was my preliminary view and has become entranched over the last day after hearing more arrogance from Ricky Ponting. If he had displayed any insight or remorse, the matter could have ended amicably. He has instead become even more indignent and thus deserves an indignent reply from India.

Posted by Sujay_Nadkarni on (January 8, 2008, 8:36 GMT)

The Harbhajan issue is the greatest farce the cricketing world has seen. The Australians have proved beyond doubt that they are masters of the mind game. If you noticed, the media - which is ultimately but a mirror to the public emotion - now says - umpiring errors will happen - questioning the integrity of one of our players is not acceptable. Here is what will unfold in the next few days - The ICC will repeal (at least temporarily) the ban on Harbhajan. The Indian team will consent to continuing the tour for what will be touted as 'in the greater interest of the game.' In the years to come, people will look back & think, "Look the 'Invincible' Aussies beat the Indians (4-0 or 3-1) as part of their record breaking streak. No one will then remember how Ponting & his cronies usurped the Sydney Test. It is thus essential that a drastic step - such as calling off the tour - be taken to ensure that future generations remember the Sydney Test farce for what it was.

Posted by Supersun on (January 8, 2008, 8:34 GMT)

The Aussies cant take defeat. They'll go to any lengths to win. And thats whats eleven unsporting players did (make that 14, what with on-field unpires and the third umpire too joining them in the process). For India, yes, it is indeed disappointing to lose a test with just 7 balls to spare, but why did it happen in the first place? It happened due to terrible umpiring. Symonds does not walk despite a thick edge. Ponting didnt move an inch after nicking one back to the keeper. Hussey was given not out. Jaffer was out on a no ball. Dravid was not out. Ganguly was not out. None of these 'turning point' moments were referred. Why did Mark Benson consult Ponting on whether Ganguly's catch was clean or not? Why did he choose to take Ponting's word for it? Ponting not only stayed on after nicking one back to Dhoni, but also claimed a catch that was evidently grounded. How dare the Aussies even talk of sportsmanship? They better shut up.

Posted by rshome on (January 8, 2008, 8:31 GMT)

There is one thing you can be certain of. If the situation was the other way round there is NO WAY the Aussies would not be whinging! So I cannot understand why Australian fans are complaining about Indians. Do people really think that if all those bad umpiring decisions went against Australia instead of India, and India had won in the last two overs, the Aussies would keep their mouths shut?!!! Everyone knows Australia are the worst losers in history! Well written article.

Posted by chapati on (January 8, 2008, 8:25 GMT)

I'm sorry but some of you cricketing journalists are too close to the action to even see what's going on. India went to Australia with a huge fanfare and great hype at home - following their great efforts of their last tour down under they expected to win - or at least make it a very close run thing. Their Board, their Captain, their players - past and present - and their media all said so...loud and often. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way and they have egg on their faces. They need scapegoats and who better to pick on than the Aussies - everyone's favourite team to hate. This nonsense about appealing is just that. Sub-continental teams have been past masters as that and have no reason to complain about others doing it. Bad decisions - everyone gets them and either benefits or is hurt by them from time to time. It's not so long ago that India trumped England curtesy of some bad calls.

Posted by fiyah on (January 8, 2008, 8:24 GMT)

Seriously. Lets be honest here... as a neutral observer of the game (I am West Indian and have the utmost respect for Bucknor as an umpire), it seems pretty obvious that Australia have long pushed the envelope on what they can get away with in International games. Sledging is ok to an extent... but when every team in the world practically complains about what is perceived as an over-reliance on pressuring umpires to make calls in their favour then one must be able to at least admit this. In addition I have a number of problems with what was specifically done by the Aussies in this particular test. Players who do not walk when they have obviously edged the ball yet seek to get an advantage through misjudgement from an umpire can not also be trusted to come good on "grey area" catches! They cannot also get the benefit of the doubt when they themselves press ball to ground while falling in mid-catch. And finally, when a team benefits from so many calls in a match they need to be humble!

Posted by gablett05 on (January 8, 2008, 8:21 GMT)

I can't believe everyone has turned on the most successful captain in history for being competitive and focussing on the game at hand. Australia played with the same competitive edge as they always do. India commit racial abuse and try to put the focus on the opposition which thanks to journalists like Peter English have proven successful. India, you deserved more from the umpires, they have been punished. However you also broke the rules, take the punishment and the loss on the chin and play hard competitive cricket next match!

Posted by Shaju.K on (January 8, 2008, 8:17 GMT)

First of all it's very difficult to understand the requirement of a treaty between the captains about the close catches. It's the job of umpires. Let it be decided by them. They are being paid for taking decisions without any involvement by either team members. That means while taking pontings openion in confidence for taking a decision, umpire Benson has made the biggest mistake than Buckner. Instead he is supposed to take help from the third umpire provided the technological support. It's a crime if they are not utilizing the available resources which are made for their purpose only. Unnecessary people from both sides are creating noises and accusing each other without understanding the reality. And people all over the world should remember one thing, everybody is playing to win and that can't be a crime in whichever spirit of any games..!!!

Posted by vikrantsingal on (January 8, 2008, 8:15 GMT)

Here is an issue which has been ignored in the last couple of days - was the catch claimed by Ponting off Dhoni legitimate? The video footage clearly shows the ball touching the ground. Most ex-cricketers (incl some Australians) have come out openly and said that this catch was invalid and Ponting did wrong to claim it. There are some ex-cricketers (mostly Australian) who say that the catch is clean. The ICC has to come out with an official verdict. It has shirked away from a response so far, but they have an obligation to do so. What happens if the situation repeats itself in the next test?

Posted by cook on (January 8, 2008, 8:12 GMT)

Can someone explain to me what it was that Ricky Ponting did that wasn't in the spirit of the game ? I have read article after article and have not seen anything as yet. I have heard one reason was the catch that Ricky Ponting claimed I think it was off Dhoni. Replays did show that the ball did hit his glove and therefore should have been out but wasn't. The other reason I heard was the celebration at the end of the game by the Australians. But I didn't see that celebration any different to any other celebration the Aussies have after a win. Remember they just won one of the best finishes of a test match and also equalled the world record for consecutive wins. So they have every right to be happy. They still shook hands with the Indians. Were they the only reasons ? If not someone please let me know. The Aussies celebration was very mild compared to the Indians celebration after they beat us in the 20/20 world cup. Have we forgotten about that already ? It is sour grapes India.

Posted by kumar14 on (January 8, 2008, 8:12 GMT)

Whatever be the outcome of controversies swirling the current series, I definitely believe that Ricky Ponting is an unworthy leader of a team of world champions. The raucous and in-your-face celebration of his team after the Sydney victory, caused more by a series of umpiring bungling than any legitimate cricketing factor, showed that he had neither the grace nor the statesmanship to lead a world champion side. Shockingly, his street manners are rubbing off on youngsters like Michael Clarke, who waited expectantly for umpire's decision even after offering a huge nick to the slip fielder. Ponting's supercilious attitude while the series is in danger has only added to the ignominy he has brought to his side. Australian team is bound to lose respect everywhere with a cocksure and sanctimonious man like him at the helm.

Posted by manudcricketlover on (January 8, 2008, 8:10 GMT)

Losing the test with just 10 minutes and about two overs to go (that too, with 3 wickets still in hand ), I strongly believe that India has a point to prove that they have been outdone by the umpires. Beat Australia in the third test, prove the umpires were wrong, then shout like you have been doing. The Indian tail that had no spine to survive even 10 minutes of play with 3 good wickets, has no right to shout and make a big fuss of umpiring or whatever. I am a neutral cricket lover and suggest india to fight back to prove their point. If you loose the third test, go home, learn more of tough and hard cricket and come back for the fourth test a year later. Don't make an honest Bucknor the escapegoat.

Posted by dontknowdontcare on (January 8, 2008, 8:07 GMT)

""Yes indeed he is not serious of the whole situation created by his team which would eventually bring down their reputation. What is the use of becoming world no.1 when the masses start hating your bunch of boys. I am of the view that Ponting should be relegated from captainship but continue as a player.""

Royda don't you mean the masses start getting jealous of your bunch of boys!!

Posted by Parth_Pala on (January 8, 2008, 8:07 GMT)

Oscare Wilde once said, "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious'. Indeed how the vicious have started circling , like the vulture's shown on National Geographic. Indeed how the nationalists revere their teams victory blinded my the dogma of their nation. Such acceptance by the Australians is a insult to the game of cricket, for it is only them who seem to see no wrong, or hear no wrong. A refusal to shake hands or walk (simple traits of this game) , yet they proudly consider themselves honest (delusional?) sportsmen. But indeed the irony states otherwise. The only comparison lies with the vast politicians who via shameless propaganda refuse to believe any wrong.

So as the politicians (Australian team and it's nationalistic public) continue to self indulge , without the same of repercussions. The only loser here is the game of cricket. Ruined by a bunch of everyday criminal minded individuals who will win at any cost, and show even less remorse for their pathetic actions.

Posted by Amosa on (January 8, 2008, 8:05 GMT)

obstreperous and Lotusgold have completely missed the point here. Indians are not calling off the tour because of the unsportsmanlike behaviour of Ricky Ponting and his team - that's a given. And if you don't believe it ask the entire cricketing fraternity And it is not because Aussies are a dominant side. Nobody accused the West Indians of Unsportsmanlike behaviour. The Indian Team believes that Symonds was not called a monkey. The conversation was overheard by Tendulkar and he has confirmed it. Hence to take the word of three Australians vs. that of Bhajji and Tendulkar, Procter - who claims he understands racism - has erred. Also understand that there could have been an error in what was said and what was understood. Ponting and his men may believe that this is a little incident but I can assure you that it is not seen that way by us in India. Our cultures are different and that an Aussie doesn't seem to understand.

Posted by Kamakshi on (January 8, 2008, 8:03 GMT)

to pak_rokks- maybe it is true that Pakistan got a few bad decisions, and if you look back India too have got bad decisions on other tours, which didn't lead to the cancellation of the tour. However, the umpiring has very little to do with the threat of the tour being called off. A racism allegation against an Indian player followed by a ban with NO evidence being PROVEN my Mike Procter or the umpires that he was infact guilty of racist sledging cannot be let go off. Infact, if the BCCI brushed this under the carpet, it would taint Harbhajan and Indian cricket for years especially with the seriousness of racism these days. If Bhajji is innocent as the team believes, they should be obligated to support him and protest against this unfair ban not just to stand up for themselves but for the honour of India.

Posted by Possum on (January 8, 2008, 7:56 GMT)

What a disappointing piece from what I believed was a respected reporter. India have done nothing but whigne and cry since they arrived in this country and it has mostly been to cover their own failings. Singh was a goose pure and simple. Roebuck says that this should be tolerated and you seem to agree with him. Face the reality of the situation. Yes, Bucknor made a mistake in giving Dravid out but all the other nine dismissals happened in less than 70 overs. In the first session before lunch on the final day India managed to bowl 24 overs in 135 min. They showed no fight at all apart from Kumble, and he should never have been at the crease if their batsmen had done a better job. They were negative and deserved to have things go against them. As the saying goes You make your own luck. It is also disappointing to here that Bucknor has been replaced. This now makes 2 elite umpires that have been removed because certain teams have thrown a dummy spit and siad that they won't play.

Posted by Samyak on (January 8, 2008, 7:56 GMT)

Does anyone remember the 5 test ban imposed on Bangldeshi skipper Latif for claming a catch which was not clean! Why not apply the same standards and ban Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke for cheating and bringing disrepute to the game. Let Symonds come out with a true extract of what exactly he had said (sledged) to Harbhajan when the latter had reportedly touched Brett Lee with his bat - then we will get to know who started all the verbal banter in the first place. As Ian Chappell rightly observed it is only the team which is doing poorly that would resort to sledging and distracting the other team from playing normal cricket. When Symonds instigated Harbhajan, everyone knows who was the more frustrated lot as they could not break the 8th wicket partnership. Ricky should stop claiming still that they played the game in the right spirit !

Posted by Warneys-Heir09 on (January 8, 2008, 7:53 GMT)

technicalities.

From here I see a few scenarios. One; Ricky Ponting and his men relax their grip on such engraved values as winning no matter what the cost. I am afraid to say though that this will only postpone the time before such controversy rears again, whilst in the mean time keeping management happy. Two; The Aussies continue as they do, dominating the game all the way to the fast approaching (sad) demise of test cricket, being so caught up in glory they lose sight of morality. This I'm afraid will be the end of cricket, having already lost its gentlemanly like qualities. Three, and this is the clincher; the other countries in the world recuperate. They come to Australia to challenge, and not be passengers. They fight when the dark is upon them, at 5:25 on the last day they put their head down and be proud to play the greatest game against the greatest team, and be successful. And that my friends will be the only way back for cricket- for the Australian way to die...

Posted by Warneys-Heir09 on (January 8, 2008, 7:52 GMT)

of the post match scrutiny and controversy is related to this game, and 99% is related to the merciless values of Australian cricket. I pledge for readers to consider, would this have turned out the same thirty years ago, when Australia struggled through the arduous task of winning a test series? No. Because there was different tension between the teams. Back then it was all on the ground. These days cricket is played in the grandstand, with cameras swooping like an Andrew Symonds run out. That is the stimulant for controversy. As for the umpiring, the doubtful decisions only increased disharmony threefold. It is impossible to say that years ago batsmen would have walked when they edged the ball, simply because technology could not validate our opinions. I firmly believe that umpires should make the call, as their sole judgement should maintain consistency whether good or bad. Technology can only create argument and in some cases doubt, so often the legends of the game divided over

Posted by tjamesjones on (January 8, 2008, 7:52 GMT)

Feels to me that the Indians are upset at narrowly loosing a test, and don't have the strength of character to take the bad luck of the umpiring on the chin. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with Ricky Ponting's lack of grace or sportsmanship.

What a petty, macho display to start throwing around threats to the ICC, to cancel the tour.

Posted by Warneys-Heir09 on (January 8, 2008, 7:52 GMT)

The conclusion of the Sydney test has left me in a confused quandary. One part of me says the Australian's were too good over the five days, and with a bit of luck pulled off a miraculous test win. Another part of me says certain aspects of the game were not played conducive to the spirit of cricket. But the biggest part of me has left a resounding feeling of what I'd like to call realised exasperation. I am left with one conclusion- the game of international cricket is far from healthy.

I am certain now that cricket's demise is directly related with Australia's uncontested dominance both physically and mentally. Had India won the match, journalists the world over would quote a Mark Taylor special, in that they were "a bit unlucky with a few decisions, but still managed to play positive cricket against the World Champs." Bravo. Game on; let's look forward with anticipation to Perth. However that was not the case, and India has reacted with great animosity. In all honesty, I think 1%

Posted by westindian26 on (January 8, 2008, 7:49 GMT)

i think its about time that someone or some team takes a stand against the austrailian cricket team. i love cricket grew up playing cricket but would like to see world class cricketers play and act like world class cricketers with the integrity and honor of the game of cricket. i live in the US and still find the time to watch the matches not only this tour but most and have been noticing the way the Austrailians play. Yes they play hard and yes they have a great side but they appeal for everything, they trash talk to every team, they mostly always get the decisions 90 some odd percent of the time to go there way, even if its in plain eye to everyone a bad call, examples the sydney test match vs indians, Kumar Sangakarra was on 190 something against them taking the game away from them he got a horrible call, shall i go on the last few years. again i will take nothing away from Austraila they have a very very good team #1 i like all their guys but their sportmanship is very very poor

Posted by thegatorrater on (January 8, 2008, 7:47 GMT)

This is a poorly written article supporting a gross over reaction by the BCCI. No one supports racism. For Ricky Ponting to accept an opposition player or one of his own player's racist remarks would be and should be a bigger issue than him raising an alleged racist remark with umpires. If Harbhajan made a racist remark, he should be punished. Let's not forget this. Australia received the benefit of some poor umpiring decisions in this game. No one enjoys seeing poor umpiring decisions. There will not be one Australian team member or supporter that will contradict this. India have every right to complain about the umpiring but nothing else.

Posted by DeepakYadav on (January 8, 2008, 7:46 GMT)

Indian Team is drifting from the main issue - we lost the match - a drawn match - one needs to analyze how Dhoni played in such a critical situation and not Clarke took the catch or not. I am not saying this issue is not important but let that be handled at a different level -let BCCI take up the issue with the ICC and Cricket Australia. I am certain that there would be some spark from our Bhajji that got the racism issue ignited beyond proportion - shouldn't have happened - matter should have been finished on the ground itself - it is important to analyze how many wickets Bhajji took in the match. You cannot ignore that we have lost - umpires or no umpires, we lost the match - i am sure if we start concentrating on our on field performances it will help us in the future games otherwise whitewash not far off. Just imagine if India was on the winning side and wrong decisions were given to the Australians had we made same hue cry - 'NO'.

Posted by Mellcott on (January 8, 2008, 7:46 GMT)

Ricky Ponting and his team of louts are just flat out hypocritical school bullies. I am a blonde haired blue eyed australian who is disgusted in the australian cricket team and have been now for some years. Growing up in the 80's my circle of friends used to love the aussie cricket team. Not any more! They are serial sledgers with the worst offenders being Ponting himself, Symons, Hayden, Hogg etc. They love serving it up but cry like babies when someone has a go back and the rest of the world are fed up with these bullies. The Harbajhan issue is a joke! Symonds instigated the sledging as he always does and just gets away with it. As for the umpiring, touring sides have been getting ripped off for years here because of the manipulation and intimidation by Ponting and Co. As far as Bucknor goes he ripped off India in the last series here and should be banned for life. Finally, as good as cricket side as the aussies are, they are an ugly example of poor sportsmanship and humility

Posted by robdro on (January 8, 2008, 7:39 GMT)

What about Adam 'honesty man' Gilchrist. Yes he walks. The umpires trust him because of it, yet he was the closest to the Dravid dismissal and definitely saw the ball come of his pad. His disgracefully loud and over the top appeal, or more so a celebration of a wicket than an appeal. Bucknor would have seen this and raised the finger, as Gilchrist apparently doesn't cheat. Well done Peter, great article.

Posted by Grahame on (January 8, 2008, 7:35 GMT)

The whole business is so pathetically sad. And worse, listening to Ricky talk trying to justify everything,-----why he sounds just like George Bush!! I think everyone should take a step backwards, take a deep breath and look at themselves in the mirror, especially the Aussies.

Posted by AdnanKhan on (January 8, 2008, 7:35 GMT)

In my view, answer to your question is yes. Ponting was aware of the situation on the ground but he was too busy to level the record by another great aussi. What he should know that he still remain an extraordinary cricketer even with 15 wins in a row. I am Pakistani but have been a great fan of his, for cricket. But one achievement was so important for him that he and his teammates forgot everything else. I think a win is a win which everyone accept. Not like this one.

On umpiring part, one thing which no body pointed out is that when Symonds was given benefit of doubt on one occasion when he was stumped why Ganguly was not given the same treatment when it was more in favour of the batsman campare to Symonds. Australia can win any team without the help of empires then why use these tactics. You are already on top where do you want to go now!

Posted by Anathema on (January 8, 2008, 7:33 GMT)

i can only agree with the comments posted by "obstreperous on January 08 2008" which is as accurate as can be.

Enough said on this but the news that the umpires have been replaced is an absolute debacle.

Posted by cwoolly on (January 8, 2008, 7:33 GMT)

I don't agree with Peter, Ricky is not behaving any differently to how he has always behaved why question his arrogance or any other Australian cricketers arrogance. They think they're the best and you know what even though I hate to say it they probably are the best and I think some of the other teams in world cricket should take some of that belief that the Aussies portray in their ability and use it in their game. I have never agreed with the Aussies arrogance and as a South African when I saw Smith become the SA captain with his arrogance I thought it could help us create that edge we needed to overcome our opposition,however I've come to loathe our new SA captain and his arrogance in trying to behave like an Aussie! Quite frankly every team has their traits and the Aussies have theirs good or bad. I don't think that Aussies have done anything wrong and they played according to the rules & maybe they've been a bit over zealous but who cares 16 wins in a row a massive achievement!

Posted by Macca73 on (January 8, 2008, 7:30 GMT)

I can barely believe what I'm reading! Bad sportmanship! The only area where Ricky might have done better was giving a "well played and bad luck" to Anil sooner after the game. So what, big deal! When did it become bad sportsmanship to appeal when you think it might be out, or to advise the umpire as to whether you caught the ball or not? Benson obviously thought Ganguly was caught, was going to give him out, but thought there was no harm in confirming the catcher didn't think otherwise. And it would be unthinkable in the AFL/NRL for a player to be criticised for raising concerns about racial slurs. If there is any bad sportsmanship going on here it is Ganguly refusing to accept the word of Ponting when it had been agreed before the game that the fielding captain would have the final say on "grey area" catches, India whinging about the bad umpiring decisions they got, and India threating to take their bat and ball and go home if they don't get a suspension decision overturned.

Posted by pak_rokkss on (January 8, 2008, 7:30 GMT)

I think now India is feeling the heat, I actually do remember that when Mr. Kumble took 10 wickets against Pakistan, how many decisions were wrong in it, Do you remember ? At least 4 of them, at that time Pakistani team didnt return back, Common grow up. In that memorable Kolkata test police have to remove the public from ground and then Pakistani team won the match in front of literally no one. At that time every indian was happy, isn't it but when it happens to them then they dont have anything else to talk about. PLEASE GROW UP ! Last but not the least what about their cricket spirit while preparing Mumbai pitch everytime where they just everytime get teams out for their lowest scores, like Australia got out out for some 85 chasing 97 runs, so I dont think they have any right talking about their spirit and questioning others.

Posted by ajaymittal on (January 8, 2008, 7:24 GMT)

This match clearly has highlighted the insecurities within Australian team when they are threatened. As long as they have been unchallenged, they have propagated Fair play. The moment they saw themselves threatened, they restored to unfair practices. Are they not the known Kings of Sledging ? Why do they make so much noise, when someone else even utters a word. How has the Indian team suddenly become racist, when there has not ever been a single accusation against them , when playing against all the other team sin the world. Harbhajan probably is singled out becos by getting him out of the team, Ponting may be hoping to score some runs himself. All in all, a very very unfair game and very immature behaviour by the Australian team. They hase set a bad example of themselves and for the sport.

Posted by Mugsy on (January 8, 2008, 7:23 GMT)

Furthermore, I think that India (or any other subcontinental cricketing team and the West Indies for that matter) complaining about bad umpiring is a little ironic. How many touring teams have returned from trips to India etc with horror stories of umpiring that was so bad it had to be deliberately so. Bucknor and Benson were bad, no doubt. But for India to whinge so loudly is a little hypocritical. And for commentators to drone on about Australia's appealing and ignore, for instance, Kumble's constant appeals for lbw in the first innings is just idiotic. There is no firm evidence that Ponting hit that leg side ball in the first innings or that Kumble's hattrick ball appeal in the second innings should have been granted. Snicko and Hawkeye are flawed as is television coverage in general. If they were not, they would have been enlisted by now to help umpires. Australia likes winners. It is Englishmen like Roebuck who have called for Ponting to be sacked...interesting!!!

Posted by aditya87 on (January 8, 2008, 7:23 GMT)

I agree with Eclipse...that is the one that irks me the most as well...and someone should definitely review that agreement they had before the series about taking the fielders word for catches because Australia are abusing that trust.

Posted by joevarghese5 on (January 8, 2008, 7:22 GMT)

Great article. Echoes the worlds sentiments on the Aussie cricket team. We Indians have always loved the battles with Australia (especially Steve Waughs team) but Ponting is at best a streetfighter quality individual with the moral values of a chameleon. Aussie friends, please understand you are our always our guests in india and we will always be up for a fight in matches with you, but do not misunderstand this as timidity. The Aussies need to redefine their approach to Asian cultures if they have to be true Champions, of the heart as well as the game. I fear that their next captain-to-be Clarke seems to be a follower of Ponting. In India we have loved Allan Border for his aggression, Taylor for his elegance, Waugh for his toughness & spirit but we just cant understand how to define Ponting....as peter says maybe as a schoolboy who just won his biggest lollypop!!!

Posted by TruBlu on (January 8, 2008, 7:22 GMT)

Well, good to see tall poppy syndrome is alive and well. Umpiring mistakes have and always will be a part of the game. It will always even up in a batsmans career. Just remember at the start of day 5 Indias tactics of allowing Australia to score at will virtually killed of their chances at winning the game. They played for the draw and lost.The umpires made far too many big mistakes in this game that caused all the controversies. Not using the third umpire when you can is always flirting with danger. If India did all the same hard work that Australia did off the field than maybe the luck starts to turn their way. Remember the saying 'The harder I work the luckier I get'. Sure, we play the game tough but so did Ian Chappell and Clive Lloyd. As far as this rubbish about bad sportsmanhip did anyone see Indias T20 celebrations? As far as Peter Roebuck goes read his player profile and stats!

Posted by goaust on (January 8, 2008, 7:21 GMT)

We won the game within the rules of the game. The Indian cricket side are just being bad losers. Keep it in perspective nothing happened on the day that is not within the Spirit of the game. Ricky was simply go through the motions of the pregame arrangements of letting everyone know that the catcher believed he caught the ball. Unfortunately the officiators of the game don't get the time luxury of getting all the extra video replays. It is totally reasonable that the catcher believed he took the catch it is totally reasonable that the captain communicated his understanding of the situation. To all the knockers I wonder if we would be even having this conversation if the game turned out to be a draw. At the end of the day it was an Indian player who went beyond decency and racially abused an Australian player. It was the Indian public who being hyped by their team kept the taunts going and now they are getting the results of their behaviour. India just need to get on with the tour

Posted by Lach01 on (January 8, 2008, 7:18 GMT)

There were so many contributing factors to the souring of the Sydney Test,it was facical to watch but I dont see how Ponting is to blame for any of it. Umpires have always had poor games. Bucknor's replacement for the Perth Test, Billy Bowden has had more than his fair share of shockers. Also, since when did batsmen become obliged to give themselves out, that's what umpires are for. For that matter when did it become a fielders job to tell an umpire that he caught the ball (or otherwise)...the umpire either saw the catch or they didn't. If they didn't maybe the square leg umpire might of...if not they don't dismiss the batsman - simple. As for ungracious celebrations did anyone see the "cartwheel." Ponting is right for playing the issues down leading into the next test. It is India that is fanning the flames of conflict by threatening to undermine the integrity of the ICC and the game at as a whole.

Posted by Cowas on (January 8, 2008, 7:18 GMT)

I'm glad that there are sport writers, the likes Peter English and Peter Roebuck. They are so correct and forthright in their views, it is commendable. Umpiring, racism, sledgging, aside. Who in his right mind thinks Ponting is a good ambassador for the game of cricket? His success has gone to his head. He along with Hayden, Michael Clark and Symonds should be hauled up by the match referee. Did I say match referee ? Protor's role itself is questionable in this whole episode ! Unfortunately, this has now become a prestige issue beyond the game itself. Whatever happens, cricket will suffer. So casting back on the root cause and villain of this incident...........and the winner is......Ricky Ponting!!!

Posted by patchyisright on (January 8, 2008, 7:16 GMT)

The easy way to solve this is to use a third umpire for all decisions, use channel nines technology. The snicko and its infra red camera. Have specific high res fast frame rate cameras on the stumps and the crease to give an accurate decision.

Also have the stump mics turned on all day. Ever wondered why they were off, its so the public doesn't hear the constant sledging and abuse the Australians dish out. A former test player was instrumental in having them turned off. I wonder why???

You can tell how unsportsman like the ozzies are for the simple reason they appeal for clearly not out decisions and when a batsmen has been given out a the big screen replay shows it wasn't out. Why doesnt the captain who has the power to call back the batsmen to the crease as he was not out and they are withdrawing the appeal, as you can do under the laws of the game.

The Australians are cheats and my kids don't like the way they play and they are 12 and 13.

Posted by Kulaputra on (January 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT)

Mr. English, this is not the first time that Ricky Ponting and his brethern have misbehaved. Their behaviour at the Championship trophy ceremony was atrocious. Please see the footage of the post match aftermath. When Javgal Srinath apologised for hitting him on the helmet, his behaviour was there in full public view. Even schoolboys are better mannered. Cricket Australia, by continuing with Ricky Ponting as their cricket captain is even more arrogant than him. It is time they took cognisance of Australia's image and changed, if they want the world to watch them play. Well, I am switching off TV as I usually watch cricket with my children. I am tired of explaining Aussie behaviour to them. If and when India hosts Australians again, I will not be in the stadium. I am sure this is the reaction of millions of cricket lovers. Bye Bye Australian cricket, at least till you reform instead of trying to defend something indefensible.

Posted by Mugsy on (January 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT)

I completely disagree with Mr English. Players aside from Ponting, such as Symonds, are saying that the game and the series to date has been played in the right spirit. Who is English to question them? And, aside from Kumble I haven't heard any Indian players claim otherwise. Why was Clarke wrong to claim a catch he thought he had caught? Why was Ponting wrong to enact what he understood to be a deal between himself and Kumble about accepting the captain's word on catches? In defending the Australians to this extent, I do not by any means condone everything they do. They should not have reported Harby for allegedly calling a grown man a name; I didn't even know that word could be construed as racist. Insulting, perhaps but racist??? Really, how thin skinned have we become? While the Australian euphoria at the end of the 2nd test was understandable, it was also insensitive to their beaten opponents. But, didn't India do the same upon winning the 20 20 WC?

Posted by kaushal_ind on (January 8, 2008, 7:13 GMT)

I agree with Peter completely. During Steve Waugh's time I was in India and the next team I would support after India was Australia and today live in Australia and have developed hatred against current Australian team because of their arrogance and utterly atrocious behavior both on and off the field leaded by the brave Ricky Ponting. I watched the first test match in melbourne where we were called wan**** and there were aussie crowd was chanting, "show us your visa". But I never thought of complaining, its just their culture. And my mom called me monkey when i was a kid, does that mean my mom is racist against her own son, thats stupid. The current Australian cricket team is good enough to win a match without using any dirty tactics, the best option is to sack Ricky, get Adam as the captain and get back their lost name in cricket

Posted by Afta on (January 8, 2008, 7:11 GMT)

I think in any sport, if there is no fair-play it is good as buried. You can play with a passion or with agression but let it not leave a bad taste at the end of it all. "Cricket" is a gentleman's game, sorry that I didn't see that in the Sydney Test. If Australia is at the pinnacle of the game, surely they should set the example. Peter, you are absolutely right in calling a spade a spade. I think Muttiah Muralitharan had the worst of it all, as it went to the extent of the prime minister John Howard calling him a chucker..! So, you know AUSTRALIANS can get up and down to any and all levels on and off the field...!!! Poor show Australia... and Ricky, will the cricketing world trust your word any more...???

Posted by patchyisright on (January 8, 2008, 7:11 GMT)

I am completely disgusted with the way Australia play cricket and have been for a long time. Even going back to when Taylor was the captain. He, I feel is instrumental in the way Australia now play cricket, or more so in the way the sledging is done. Australia are the most unsportsmanlike of any cricketing nation.

They constantly appeal for decisions that you know full well are not out, IE slips appealing for LBW when it is clear the ball is sliding down the leg side. Fieldsman at point or square leg appealing for leg LBW, how can they see whats happening.

Gilchrist and his slip buddies appealing for catches when they can clearly see the ball come off the pad. IMO the Australians are cheats simple as that. They sledge every player, they can not take it when a batsmen doesn't walk yet they appeal for decisions that are not out, They never walk when in doubt and Symonds you are a disgrace.

Posted by klempie on (January 8, 2008, 7:10 GMT)

As a South African, I lost respect for Australian cricket years ago because their attitudes are so awful. Sure...there is no question that they are the best by a long way but I do believe they could take a leaf out of New Zealand's All Blacks' book. They were number 1 in the world for 3 years until the WC and dominated in similar measure to the way Aus have dominated world cricket for the last 5-6 years. The biggest difference is that they are universally respected and admired. Gentlemen. SA/NZ is probably the biggest rivalry in rugby and yet we still manage to find respect for each other. Aus sport in general fails miserably at this. All Punter et al are interested in is humiliation...and that is the nub of it. Gilly is your only great sportsman in that team. He shoulda been given the captaincy ahead of Punter.

Posted by uskulkarni on (January 8, 2008, 7:10 GMT)

Looks like Kumble made a mistake in accepting Punters suggestion of relying on the fielders/ captains claim to have caught the catch.

The Indians in the past used to resort to excessive appealing. Maybe now they have realised rthat what they have done in the past is wrong and hoep that they dont do such things in future. Aussies also tend to do it, hope that true spirit prevails and the bowlers frustrations are more channelised in bettter bowling than in appealing!

Posted by Michael1972 on (January 8, 2008, 7:10 GMT)

Its very disappointing to see that the ICC have been bullied into standing Steve Bucknor down from the Perth test. It seems that the revenue that India brings to the game of cricket is more important than the career of a long standing top offical in this game. Surely we are all entitled to an off day now and then, but their actions suggest that Bucknor is as corrupt as the Indian bookmakers who will be losing a fortune when Australia thrashes India 4-0 in this series. Its also highly hypocritical of Kumble to suggest that India was playing "in the spirit of the game" on Sunday afternoon after one of the most blatent displays of stalling I ever ever witnessed. Do you think it was a co-incidence that the tail-enders took over twice as long as the top order batsmen to come to the crease? And then to try and convince us that two right-handed gloves was a mistake! Get on the plane guys, your racist and bullying actions are not wanted here..

Posted by Tonder on (January 8, 2008, 7:09 GMT)

Firstly, for Symonds to edge and not walk and go on to make an unbeaten century, and then in the post-day conference admit to cheating, that's unacceptable. Secondly, for Ponting to edge and not walk either and then have the audacity to raise his finger to give Ganguly out after claiming the catch by Clarke...that to me is sign or utter arrogance and breeding a culture of cheating and an attitude of winning at all costs. In the heat of the moment, things are said and chirps are always part of the game. Being called a "Monkey" in my opinion is derogatory and has no racial implications. Why is it that Australia and allowed to sledge the rest of the cricketing fraternity, but when they get a bit of their own back, they run like cowards and hide behind the ICC?

Posted by mondas on (January 8, 2008, 7:08 GMT)

Peter English's comments regarding Ricky Ponting hit the mark right on the head. Like some latter day Roman senator unwilling to notice the barbarians at the gates, Ricky and the Australian team have shown what we have known all along. Win win win! at all costs. (Including their on field performance did anyone notice the 13th and 14th and 15th players for Australia, all um umpires). The team does need to go to a primary school and have lessons in Health / PE lessons about sportsmanship, the true meaning not this play hard but in the spirit rubbish. Hindsight is something one never has later but it seems that even with the growing uproar about Ponting and his actions he refuses to acknowledge that he may have made a mistake this time. Will this have the same impact as the underarm delivery? Time will tell. To the Indians good luck in Perth when the Aussies start sledging just ignore it, as we teachers have to do so often with kids who want to win win win at all costs.

Posted by Patrick_Keogh on (January 8, 2008, 7:06 GMT)

The critics of Australia are absolutely right. From now on the Australian side should: - Not appeal, except for a very quiet question from the captain. All other players should remain impassive. Even then the captain should first ask the batsmen if he was out. - Not celebrate taking a wicket. - Always walk if they are out or if there is a loud appeal from the opposition. - Applaud every run by an opposing batsmen. - Never speak to an opposing player or an umpire during play (except for the case mentioned above).

In return we'll all promise to go to the cricket even when Australia hasn't won a test in five years.

Oh, one other small thing, there needs to be an additional rule to cover the case where flying pigs disrupt play.

Posted by GaryWJ on (January 8, 2008, 7:06 GMT)

I basically agree with Peter English, who is general gives good measured comments on the game.

I am an Aussie, a keen cricketer, and do not think the celebrations were warranted. I can understand short term euphoria at 3 wickets in one over with a few minutes to go, but then I would have told everyone to "cool it" There were too many bad decisions, too much emotion, and an opposing team that were damned unlucky and very hard done by.

You WOULD have to be blind not to see it, and again I feel it was an exciting, but hollow, victory. I have many friends in India, and visit there a lot, I am not expecting a lot of happy cricket talk when I go back next...as is usually the case. We were ugly and not a lot to be proud of

Posted by GAW1 on (January 8, 2008, 7:06 GMT)

I still remeber the monkey taunts from our last tour of India that went unpunished by the Indian board. I also have vivid memories as a kid seeing Gavaskar and the mighty D.K Lillie shaping up to one another. I suppose those that are having a go at the current Aussie squad called for their heads to roll as well, I doubt it. Yes, Ricky and the boys appealed for everything, but I thought there was a law against that. Maybe Ricky should cop a fine. There is more to this than just the Australian side. If Australia had have just rolled there arms over ending as a draw the Roebucks of society still would have chastised them. At the end of the day there was a team out there trying everything possible to win the game, a team out there trying everything out there to save the game, and then there are the umpires who are out there trying to adjudicate the match as best they can. I put this down to a great contest now lets get on with the third test, which should be a ripper.

Posted by Toby_McCricket on (January 8, 2008, 7:06 GMT)

Peter's so called opinion article is a disgrace to journalism - I think he needs a bex and a good lie down.

While I agree Australia could have showed more humility in victory, I don't think they have done anything wrong - they have simply played their cricket hard. As for excessive appealing - their current appealing is less than what it was when Warne or Waugh was playing - and is certainly no worse than any other top level cricket side. Importantly, they can't be blamed for poor umpiring.

India are not saints in this matter - particularly Harbhajan who appears to be a serial offender when it comes to racist sledging. On past experience, if it was India on the receiving end, we would hear no end of it. Further, the actions of the BCCI are outrageous - simply bully boy behaviour. The ICC should come down hard on the BCCI and put them in their place. There are proper processes to be followed and the very unsubtle blackmailing tactics of the BCCI are to be deplored.

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (January 8, 2008, 7:05 GMT)

I completely agree. I don't think India would have complained so much if it was just a question of bad umpiring. India would have complained though - every series involving India that Bucknor has officiated he has been reported for dodgy umpiring. What really rankled was that there was every evidence of the Aussies cheating and pulling out all stops to secure the record victory. Aussies play hard, yes, but play fair, absolutely not. They simply cannot stand being outclassed. The racism charge just added more to the already harried Indians. Curiously, questioning someone's parentage by calling him a b****** is condoned, but questioning someone's ancestors by calling him a monkey (if at all it was done - and I would take Tendulkar's word over that of Clarke or Ponting any day) is racism!

Posted by KrossFokus on (January 8, 2008, 7:05 GMT)

How the Australians behaved on the field and what their attitude towards the game was for everyone to see. The mere facade that Aussies play their game hard and fair is like saying they have been new entrants to the test arena. Even Bangladesh claims that. Again, all men are not the same. Ricky Ponting is the most hated Australian cricketer in India (perhaps in the subcontinent as well), but Gilly and Brett Lee will get a grand welcome even if they land in India in such a momentous hour. So what definitely has led the situation to precipitate further is the Aussie Skipper's shenanigans. The Aussies want to win every match they play which is how a team should be, but should not the team also think of earning respect from cricket fans instead of ignoring them from time to time? Why is it that the Windies, the South Africans, the Kiwis and even the English are applauded in the subcontinent even in their wins and why not the Aussies. Thing to ponder!

Posted by GatorNation on (January 8, 2008, 7:05 GMT)

I belong to the religion that embraces brotherhood,sportsmanship and applaudes the best of cricket no matter where it is played and who plays it.For all these years that i have watched and grown in this wonderful sport, these are undoubtedly the most gloomiest days and i feel that i just attended the funeral of india-australia cricket series for good. The australian play cricket hard but the spirit of cricket hardly. They are professional players without a slimmer of etics or etiquette. .This instance thankfully is regarded and covered to this extent because it is india, BCCI's financial arm and the worth that indian cricket bestows to the entire cricket fraternity. No doubt that we have so long fuelled this ruthless australian behavior under the blanket of some good performances and their sledging has been tolerated in the name of aggression and this has helped create a le-etal taliban and an alqeeda outfit in cricket world but this needs to erased before they could take on even dang

Posted by gadsy on (January 8, 2008, 7:03 GMT)

Lets stop beating around the bush. If calling an opponent a'monkey'(if Harbhaajan did so) is such a big sin, then the first people who should be thrown out (and I use this term consciously) from a cricket field should be Ricky Ponting followed by Michael Clarke (who stands when it is clear as daylight that a catch has been taken but will claim a catch even though grassed)followed by their teammates. The world knows of the sickening behaviour of this 'team' and how they would go to any extent, ethical or otherwise to keep a winning record. All those who think this is 'sporting spirit' are merely cowering at the sight of a team hitting back and putting the Aussie team in their place - and when that happens they run crying to the ICC! From(not for the first time)consistently muttering on the field to claiming non existent catches to almost ignoring congratulations from its opponents, Ricky Ponting and his 10 goons need to be sent back to school to understand what sporting spirit really is

Posted by fanofthegame on (January 8, 2008, 7:02 GMT)

Peter has obviously written this article with a slant for whatever personal reasons. It is a true shame that this test will not be remembered for the fantastic efforts of both side rather the controversy. To have people call for Ponting to be dismissed as captain is absurd. There have been no negative comments about him or Australian cricket until India complained. If it is unsportsmanlike to play hard to win then may be Ponting could instruct his side to go a bit easier on touring sides. Kumble had reason to be upset with the umpires as they did put in shockers but Australia have no influence there. As far as walking when out did the indian player walk when he clearly edged onto his pads caught by Ponting in the first test to be given not out, no and nor should he that is what the umpire is for. As for Singh if an indian was racally vilified the fall out would be far greater than the Symonds incident this is reverse racism at its finest.

Posted by ManojJacob on (January 8, 2008, 7:01 GMT)

Brushed under the carpet amidst the charge of racism is a far more important issue. Dishonesty, or to put it crudely, cheating. Both Ponting and Clarke claimed catches when the ball had clearly been grounded in the process of taking the catch. Isn't that bringing the game to disrepute? Isn't that putting to shame the entire Australian nation? In my opinion, dishonesty is as deplorable as racism. While the charge against Harbhajan remains unsubstantiated, the evidence of poor sportsmanship is clearly visible in several replays.

Posted by SamOber on (January 8, 2008, 6:58 GMT)

Peter, Congratulations for showing the courage and speaking your mind out! It was long overdue. Let us not mix the 'hard' type of cricket that Aussies play with the kind of cricket that was witnessed during the Sydney test. Nobody would complain if cricket is played hard but in a sportsmanlike manner. Honestly, this incident was only a trigger and the Aussies were looking for a reason to explode after the way things went during the ODI in India (read some of the statements made by Aussie players after the ODI). Aussies returned from India with a mindset to put 'certain' people (Harbajan and Sreesanth) in their places. No other team has been able to stand-up to the Aussies both on and off the cricket field like the Indians which has not gone down well with the Aussies. It's time that Ricky redeems himself and in consultation with the ACB should reverse the result of this match! Thank you

Posted by uskulkarni on (January 8, 2008, 6:58 GMT)

I am really touched by the genuine comments made by aussie supporters made here. While it is easy to get carried away by emotions and support your home country, you guys by putting your comments here have shown that Cricket will survive because of people like you.

I am hurt by the results of th test but am also hurt by the overall hatred towards aussies shwon by the Indian television. Hope that people criticise the mistakes and dont generalise to the extent that it blocks our vision.

Posted by caleydev on (January 8, 2008, 6:57 GMT)

This article is extremely biased and has simply echoed Anil Kumble's sour grapes. Anil Kumble is saying Ricky Ponting is unsportsmanlike, when he is the one who after losing the match has; attacked the opposition captain, defended racism from his own player, demanded a change in umpires and threatened to abandon the tour if he does not get his way. Who is not sportsmanlike again?

Posted by Mullet on (January 8, 2008, 6:57 GMT)

I think Ponting is best left in the team as the arrogant one (nothing wrng with a BIT of spite). I think there is a bit of sour grapes on India's behalf however I think we need a more statesman-like captain to be honest. I think Mick Hussey would make an excellent leader.

Posted by calendargirl on (January 8, 2008, 6:54 GMT)

This Test has created a sad state of affairs for the game and, in my opinion, both sides must carry some of the responsibility for that. As must the umpires - both of them - whose performances were very ordinary. But I have a particular concern about the ICC's appointment of officials for the match, most notably the 3rd umpire. Soon after Symonds was mistakenly given "Not Out" on 30 by Buckner, Symonds (on 40?) faced an appeal for a stumping. The TV replays showed fairly convincingly that, despite it being a tight call, Symonds was out. The 3 TV commentators on Channel 9 considered that Symonds would be given out, as I did. I was very surprised by the 3rd umpire's "Not Out" decision. But I was amazed to learn later that he was/is an Austalian. So much for neutral umpires. Only for non-referred decisions, it seems.

Posted by PatrickRooney on (January 8, 2008, 6:54 GMT)

I think Peter English and Peter Roebuck should both have a hard look at themselves. Look at the facts only, and as the Peters were not on the ground they are making assumptions or listening to hearsay evidence only. The umpires on the pitch made the correct decision to take this matter to the tribunal where a considered verdict was made. Australia's only crime was to win. Perhaps a new law should be introduced that states that once you have attained a certain number of wins you should no longer participate in the game. Breaching this rule would then officially brand you as Arrogant and Bad Sports. Don Bradman must have been the most arrogant batsman to have played the game.

Posted by waazup on (January 8, 2008, 6:52 GMT)

I think Ricky Ponting represets the overwhelming arrogance in Australian cricket that has seen Australia become the most hated nation in the game.If one looks at true winners like Roger Federer and how gracious they are in Victory and Defeat,one cannot but be disgusted by Pontings Hubris.Cricket has always been a gentleman's game but Ponting and his team are mercenary to extreme,kicking a team when they are down.I always remember the diplomacy and graciousness of the late Hansie Cronje who was always the first to congratulate and acknowledge the oposition before celebrating a victory.

Posted by SameerGupta on (January 8, 2008, 6:52 GMT)

@qudsi

Quote "it does't affect him at all." Editor wants him to take a note of it. Coz, it's high time he ponders over his ways to achieve success!

Quote "His main goal is to defeat everysingle team whoever visit thier country, wheather its is India, SouthAfrica or Pakistan."

You forgot to add - "at whatever cost it takes. Coz the game is no more a Gentleman's game for him & his boys. It's cynical- appeal for whatever you (MAY BELIEVE) is out & umpire decision is final. Gilly saying that standing far from stumps for a fast bowler would have been satisfying tp some extent but standing hardly a metre from the bat of Rahul & appealing was atrocious & his response a blatant excuse not a reason"

"India is not showing the right spirit as far as winning is concern"

Do you think India's only aim in this game was to stop aussies from 16th win? Had India lost it may be the way 1st test was lost, would they have cried foul? India would have accepted defeat if it were genuine!

Posted by fak_hri on (January 8, 2008, 6:50 GMT)

I think what australian players need is a lesson in humility.Being a better team does not make you superior beings.Winning doesnt make the losing team disappear.They can mock and sledge but when somebody does that to them they act like cry babies.No doubt they are a better team but i must say they are pathetic winners.They deserve to win the next two tests.Lets hope pointing's team does it gracefully this time.

Posted by hank on (January 8, 2008, 6:50 GMT)

How about no umpires it all and just video replay decide the results, this way we can really see the true talent of the players rather than some decisions which could some times be the deciding factor at the end. and then overshadow the efforts of 22 talented individuals who want results, I think we need the ICC to try at least one game without field umpires , then see what happens....Both teams got to show their aggressive sides at their home venues ,I think they should not damage the integrity of the game and grow up and just play Cricket...

Posted by rajeshray on (January 8, 2008, 6:48 GMT)

There is no doubt that Ricky Ponting typifies the Australian cricketer - arrogrant, brash and unsporting. He has done irreparable damage to Indo-Australian ties in general, not just cricketing, by his disgraceful and blatantly unsporting conduct, both during and after the Sydney Test match.Hats off to journalists like Peter English (who is not English by the way !) and Peter Roebuck for having the guts to come out in the open and calling a spade, a spade in their columns. They have done a good deal to restore the credibility of the Australian media in the eyes of the world, however, it will take a lot more to restore the credibility of the Australian team and its captain. There is entirely inconclusive and insufficient evidence against Harbhajan Singh, and "no unbiased judge could have found him guilty and sentenced him". The hearing was a mockery and a complete farce with Procter having decided upon the verdict from the very beginning.India should withdraw unless ICC overturns ban.

Posted by hariputtar on (January 8, 2008, 6:47 GMT)

Why are questions being raised about Ponting's behaviour and the sportsman spirit of the Australian team? The team played the game WITHIN the rules - appealing for a dismissal is fairly allowed, and they did just that. The final decision is that of the umpire. If the umpires consult the players, its not the players fault. And the reactions are such that Australia is the first team in the history of the game to appeal for a catch. Surprisingly, I have seen Indian appeal tons of times during their home series. It is also not the first time that a player has NOT walked. Why arent fingers being pointed at a Mr. Sachin Tendulkar for not walking when he was adjudged not out to a LBW?

It is time the world champions are given their due. Whoever feels that they dont deserve to win may probably have a game with them - with the umpires and pitch of their choice - and see the outcome. btw, I am from India.

Posted by Krishna_Sydney on (January 8, 2008, 6:46 GMT)

Well said Peter.

Ponting needs to realise that the ball is in his court to speak to Anil and not the other way around. He would be well advised to take Clarke and Hogg with him. An apology might bring the same from Bhajji and shd be followed by Pontings withdrawal of his complaint to the ICC, so the tour can proceed.

Posted by fairplay1 on (January 8, 2008, 6:46 GMT)

Procter banned Rashid Latif in 2003 banned for five matches over disputed catch. Based on the same rule Ponting & Calrke should be banned too.

Rule is rule for all. :)

Here is the cricinfo link -- http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/story/133468.html

Posted by Tarn on (January 8, 2008, 6:46 GMT)

I think that if Harbhajan was an honourable man, he would own up and take his lumps, and if the Indian team really believe in the spirit of the game they would make sure that he does. Why should the Australian team take a backward step for an Indian transgression?

Posted by Harmeet.Hora on (January 8, 2008, 6:44 GMT)

I have a point about Ricky's spirit to win this match. Just when at his post match comments he rated this win as the greatest by comparing this with one of the Ashes test win last year. I want ask Ricky by what measures does he rate this as the greatest win. Even if not convinced let's agree that on records this match has been awarded to Australia. Without arguing that why India shouldn't accept the appauling umpiring in the match atleast we all agree that even if half of the so many crucial umpiring decisions that went wrongly against India were corrected,Australia should have lost the test match. Then technically Ponting shouldn't even claim this to be a victory.At best he should have considered himself lucky to get a win against his name.The point here is that it was an agenda for Ricky to win this test match and do that by any means.Yes all his tactis and spirit was to put pressure on the umpires and intimidate them to the extent that they would only go deaf dumb & blind.

Posted by ABP235 on (January 8, 2008, 6:42 GMT)

Just wanted to show where the 'Sherminators' was wrong. He mentioned Laxman and Tendulkar being given not out for close LBW shouts. If you consider those, then there could be at least 3 dozens that went in favour of the Aussies. The key point was, when India was all over the Aussies on Day 1 with 6 down for 100+, the 3 decisions went in Aussies favour, all off Symmonds, were pure shockers. My 5 year old son and 75 year old grand mother saw the edge and heard the noise. You all know what happened after that. If Symmo had gone then, the match would have ended on Day 4 and I dont need to tell you who the winners were. Clear edge, 3rd umpire (no surprise that he was Australian) stumping decision and refusal to refer another stumping to 3rd umpire..it all says something completely different. One might find out if an investigation is held from the point of view of ICC's own codes of conduct on Betting, Match Fixing and/or Racism being part of the umpiring decisions.

Posted by tully008 on (January 8, 2008, 6:41 GMT)

Ricky Ponting needs to accept the gravity of this situation. It is imperative that he show leadership and treat this situation seriously as it will effect cricket relations with India and Cricket Australia's income this summer. I agree that it was very disconcerting to see Ricky raise his finger to say that Clarke had caught Ganguly, when Ponting himslf appealed excessively for his catch attempt of Dhoni when he clearly pushed the ball into the turf. I am annoyed with both teams for their carrying on and if this happened in junior cricket the parents would give a seroius talking to to all party's. Who has the laedership, authority and negotion skills to do that at the highest level? It appears, sadly, no one...

Posted by thomas_ab on (January 8, 2008, 6:41 GMT)

In 2003, Mike Procter imposed a five-match ban on Pakistan captain Rashid Latif for claiming a catch off the ground. The details are available at http://content-www.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/133468.html. In Ponting's case, the TV replays clearly show that the ball came off the pad, and that he grounded the ball after catching it. Later, after having the benefit of watching the replay, he said at the press conference that he was "100% sure that he had taken the catch cleanly".

Now the BCCI must use this precedent to demand a five-match ban on Ponting. If Procter fails to uphold the guilty verdict against Ponting, India must take up his case as they did for Mike Denness.

Posted by Neil_1982 on (January 8, 2008, 6:40 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is a great player on the field, i would disagreee the same as far as his diplomatic leadership skills as a captain are concern. His actions have now lead to a 'War of the Cricketing nations'. He has not only let his fans down but also brought shame to his nation by his lack of mature behaviour.

Posted by fairplay1 on (January 8, 2008, 6:40 GMT)

Why Ponting should be banned ============================

Think back to September 2003, and the Pakistan-Bangladesh series. Then Pakistan captain Rashid Latif was docked for claiming a catch, when the ball had touched the ground. He was suspended for five games -- effectively missing the entire one day series between the two sides.

On that occasion, the match referee while handing out his sentence said: "As captain a lot of responsibility falls of Rashid Latif and he committed a serious offence by claiming that (unfair) catch which constitutes unfair play and a level-three offence of ICC [Images] code of conduct (offensive and penalties). Therefore, the Pakistani captain shall be banned for five one-day internationals."

The match referee was -- surprise, surprise -- Mike Procter no less; the same official currently in the hot seat in the India versus Australia series

http://ia.rediff.com/cricket/2008/jan/07prem.htm

Posted by SatyajitM on (January 8, 2008, 6:39 GMT)

Nice piece of article by Peter. Apart from what Ricky should do, I also have a request to the Australian cricket fans who are commenting here: Please open your eyes. The whole world is able to see the arrogance of Ricky and his team. Basically you and the team is suffering from a superiority complex. You feel, you MUST win at any cost. This is a flawed philosophy and untill you understand you have done something wrong, you can not correct yourself as well. I appreciate feelings of other portion of Aussie cricket fans who understand this and are disgusted at their national team's attitude. As Peter pointed out the team requires counseling as they are unable to understand the issue on their own.

Posted by CricFanUS on (January 8, 2008, 6:38 GMT)

Two sides put in their best show and play their hearts out. But it seems that it is not the only factor that decides which of the two sides win. Apart from testing the cricketing skills of 22 players involved, a cricket game also tests the skills of 2 umpires. In the latter case its not the cricketing skills that are tested but rather its a test of umpires':

1. Vision - can he see a ball travelling close to 90 miles per hour taking a thin edge of bat and landing it in hands of wicketkeeper

2. Judgement - a ball hits a batsman on the pads in front of the wickets, there is a loud appeal from all around - can he or can he not judge if the ball was going to hit the stumps

3. Consistency - can the umpire keep doing the above 2 for entire game without a mistake.

Today when mankind has achieved technological feats with fair accuracy - from landing a probe on Mars to predicting the time when its going to rain; we continue to test humans if they can deliver correct decesion WHY?????

Posted by IndvAus on (January 8, 2008, 6:35 GMT)

I fully agree to the comments of the editor. If Ponting claims that the game was played in right spirits, then why did he appeal so aggressively against DHONI when he knew that the ball was grounded before he caught it? Secondly, he again burst out at an Indian Journalist when he asked about it, and also claimed that the catch was taken cleanly. Mr. Ponting, cant you see television replays, which clearly indicate that the catch was indeed grounded? Whom are you fooling? Yourself or the world? I fully apreciate the cricketing skills of the Aussie team and though and Indian fan really like the way Aussies play their cricket. However this time the " aggressiveness" can hamper the relations between the cricketing bodies.

The comments by Rebock that " Ponting has turned a group of professional cricketers into a pack of wild dogs" really suits the way Ponting has handled his team, and they can bite only themselves for the way they are being criticised by the rest of cricketing world.

Posted by SatyajitM on (January 8, 2008, 6:32 GMT)

Nice piece of article by Peter. Apart from what Ricky should do, I also have a request to the Australian cricket fans who are commenting here: Please open your eyes. The whole world is able to see the arrogance of Ricky and his team. Basically you and the team is suffering from a superiority complex. You feel, you MUST win at any cost. This is a flawed philosophy and untill you understand you have done something wrong, you can not correct yourself as well. I appreciate feelings of other portion of Aussie cricket fans who understand this and are disgusted at their national team's attitude. As Peter pointed out the team requires counseling as they are unable to understand the issue on their own.

Posted by MridulM on (January 8, 2008, 6:31 GMT)

Lots of people talking about whether Ricky is right or wrong in reporting the issue to the officials or not. Well! when this thing remains to be argued in the perspective of "The Cultural Misunderstanding" as Mr Border or Mr Steve Waugh termed it, another face of the coin is "Calling a Goose, as one honorable Australian cricketer termed one of the ex-coaches of the team, is not racist while calling a Monkey is" and I really don't know how to comprehend it.

Lastly one point which is of the most importance, Is Mr Ponting really inspiring the younger generations for fairness? On-field appeals and decisions are done in the heat of the game so mistakes can be comprehended but what about not accepting those mistakes in press conferences even after the match concludes? Heaven knows the truth in the statement "There's no way I grounded that ball,If you're actually questioning my integrity in the game, then you shouldn't be standing there." and nothing remains to be stated about his integrity.

Posted by antique on (January 8, 2008, 6:30 GMT)

Finally the boil has burst . It is time that the game is respected as it once was by Benaud , Bradman and co . It needs to be finally brought to the attention of the players and the very weak ACB , that the way in which Australia conducts itself on the field is very often vulgar , dishonest , and disgustingly aggressive verbally and in body language . The Australian side is a great one and plays in a very entertaining way , that has transformed test cricket. It would not hinder their success in the future , if the players were to shut their mouths and only appeal in an honest fashion. Not only would they be successful , but respected by all , and would be excellent role models . Have some guts Australia , admit that you have not done the right thing , and start to the play in the true spirit and regain some credibility

Posted by dashy.sou on (January 8, 2008, 6:29 GMT)

Being an Indian it's natural to support Indian cricket team in the field, but when it comes to choose a favorite team as a cricket lover my (I hope from lots of Indian too) spontaneous vote gone to Aussie team. Even, one of my friend supported Steave Waugh so passionately he had been praying for Australia during their last test against India at SCG, 2003-04 tour.But, the current test match at SCG wheeled back all the passion & support from the Australian Cricket team. It's a pathetic & blundering cricket match I ever seen. Its appeared to me & all my cricket loving friends that somehow all the personnel in the SCG field (apart from Indian players) were desperate to equate 16 consecutive victory record by hook or crook. Indian player were playing with the 15 opponent player (Four of them with black trousers).I can understand the poor umpiring decision by the field umpire but It was absolutely ridiculous the not out decision give

Posted by MiRC on (January 8, 2008, 6:29 GMT)

I read few crying about LBW decision not given against india, so there were some LBW not given against australia in second innings, no one care about LBW as its always doubtful but what about the edges which everyone can see and hear even sitting inside the ground but not umpires. I really want to know what symond said to harbhajan because the statment released by Symond he admitted that he had a crack at harbhajan first and when harbhajan replied, symond and ponting was not able to take the heat so they cooked up this whole racisim story which no one can prove. I think australia shouldnt cry afterwards if the get back what they are dishing out themselves in the first place. What surprise me Hayden and clarke who standing in slip cordon heard what harbhajan saying but not the umpires who were next to harbhajan ???? Heard some Australian saying all was fair, let reverse the table Hogg beeen reported using abusive language now , should he be banned now?

Posted by Chance on (January 8, 2008, 6:28 GMT)

I think someone else needs to open there eyes as well, the game is over no use crying over it.... really!!! Is kumble the 'special one' to adjudge that the spirit of the game was not at heart while playing. This is Hardball and you need to play rather then speak, if you have something to prove or highlight do it on the field. This is not the first time there have been bad decisions you know, so whats the surprise. As for Mr. English: I dont know what you see, that half a million other people like Ricky Ponting dont see, nothing happened on the field, only a team whinning about losing and blaming it on more then one situation for there loss.

Posted by swami_psg on (January 8, 2008, 6:23 GMT)

Great Article Peter. It was just a matter of time before somebody put things in perspective. I always appreciate if a game is played Hard but not at the cost of sportsmanship. The pitiful thing is after all that has happened, Ponting is yet to realize the blunders that he has made. This goes to show that the so called mighty Australians arent Mighty after all - coz when someone gives a taste of their own medicine they feel the heat. After the Slater - Dravid, Mcgrath-Sarwan and Ponting - Srinath incident, it is rather obvious which team has been involved in this racial slur trade [for a while]. As some of the former cricketers [Both Indian and Australian] have told, when Australians do it it is Mental Disintegration and when the visiting Team does it, it is sledging/racial Abuse. I Pity you Ricky, for you are no more than a child. Excellent Article Peter.

Posted by _Oracle_ on (January 8, 2008, 6:22 GMT)

I am awestruck by how people think differently and side with their country. To me the most disappointing part of the test match is umpiring. Mr. Sherminators mentioned earlier that there were close LBW's that went in favor of Indians but what I think is that LBWs have always been iffy and they depend on umpires. I have seen LBWs that are very close that are given out and some of them aren't. Mainly it is because its more of an umpire's decision and not technology can be used to make the LBW decision. However, when the catch or stumping decisions are not referred when they should have been if the umpire wasn't sure, one must question the umpire's intention or capability as an umpire. I think ICC must take some blame for poor umpiring and Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson should be investigated for their bad performance.

Posted by plod on (January 8, 2008, 6:22 GMT)

Peter English, you are wrong. India are bad losers. The umpires made the decisions. You are entitled to appeal, if the appeal is unsuccessful, then so be it. Aussie cricketers get on with it. Indian cricketers do not. For the uneducated, if the captains have agreed prior to the series commencing that they would accept a fieldsmans word re catches, then that should be that. If Kumble didn't tell his team about this arrangement, which he obviously didn't, hence Ganguly standing at the crease, refusing to go, well that is India's problem. To all you whinging Indian supporters, you have short memories about unfair appealing, gamesmanship, etc. You are masters at it. I have followed every Australian tour of the subcontinent for the past 40 years. I remember all the hysterical appealing, running up to the umpires. Is that fair, is that cricket played in the right spirit? Anil Kumble you and your team are hypocrites. Imagine the furore had Symonds called Harbajahn a racist term.

Posted by Ajay1012 on (January 8, 2008, 6:21 GMT)

Peter may be correct but the outcome of the result clearly gives an indication that the result was decided before the completion of the test. 7 bad decisions 1 against Australians and 6 against Indians, this all tells the story. The way bucknor was hesitant to give australians out, where a blind person could have declared them out, and the reson behind not a single indian in ICC elite umpire list, indian umpires are not upto the mark. Great, but results shows that indian umpires like suresh shastri or others can be far better than current list of joker umpires that ICC has. How canyou believe a liar to give someone out, when he himself grounded the catch and appealing. Surprisingly no one regrets. This was the plan as told by australian players after indian tour last year.

Posted by shohan007 on (January 8, 2008, 6:20 GMT)

The Australian cricket team's actions are always scrutinized just because they are the best team in the world. Since no other team can compete with them on the field, they look to tarnish their image off it. There are numerous bad umpiring decisions in many games, but everyone seems to spend more time scrutinizing these decisions when they favor Australia. I can bet if the same decisions had been in favor of India, such a huge issue would not have been created. The Indian team should stop portraying themselves as a victim of circumstance and just get on with the tour. It is exactly this sort of attitude that is responsible for them being so far-off from the Aussies as far as cricket skills are concerned. Just move on guys!

Posted by rajarave on (January 8, 2008, 6:18 GMT)

Yes,India was at the recieving end of a majority of the wrong umpiring decisions and yes, Australia wouldn't be in the position of taking three wickets in the last 10 minutes without them. But of course poor umpiring is mostly to blame for that issue, and kudos to the Aussies for their 16th win in a row. All said and done, is the sitauation now really about winning and losing and sportsmanship and sledging or is it really only a colossal ego battle between the old colonial powers versus the all powerful asian bloc for one upmanship? I sure hope that Bhajji is found innocent or guilty based on evidence and not because of an ego tripping cricket bureacracy! As much fun it is watching India play Pakistan and Sri Lanka it sure is going to be boring without the Aussies and English playing them!!

Posted by GirishDua on (January 8, 2008, 6:17 GMT)

Broadly two issues have been raised in the Sydney match. One was ofcourse the poor standard of umpiring and second racial abuse by Harbhahan Singh.Coming to the first issue and on which most of us agree and no second question about it that umpiring was atrocious. And probably for the first time in the history of game even third umpire gave wrong decision. By no stretch of imagination Symonds could be given even benefit of doubt as the replays clearly showed he was out. Less said the better about onfield umpiring. And this is where Mr Ponting, you went wrong. You could have been gracious in your 'win' and joined hands with Kumble and condemned the poor standards of umpiring. But alas, the 'win' clouded your vision and you saw nothing wrong. Coming to the second issue, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind ( at the risk of being labeled 'biased' being an Indian) that Mr. Ponting, the whole affair was stage managed by you in retaliation to what happened during Aussies tour of India.

Posted by Vijais on (January 8, 2008, 6:16 GMT)

Poor Umpiring standards leading to contentious decisons, unnecessary sledging incidents have marred the spirit of this game and the home team's victory over India was far from impressive due to these mishaps. Worse to hear Punter mentioning these as little incidents, he should realise that these little incidents were probably the only things that led to our victory in 2nd test. Well, Pete I agree with certain points in your article. Very good point of view. Ricky really does need spoon-feeding at this point. During hsi interviews, felt like shouting at him, "The world is waiting, where are you?"

Posted by sunilkj-Kuwait on (January 8, 2008, 6:16 GMT)

Ponting should be sacked and it should be a lesson for the whole cricketing world to stop using abusive language and using tricky ways to win a test match. The only time the Australians play fair is when they are very sure they are going to win, otherwise there is no team that cheats like them. Adam Gilchrist is a professional in false appealing and getting the umpires to raise the dreaded finger that turn matches around. One thing is clear Ponting is least bothered about reputation and is only concerned about winning at any rate.

He will never be in the league of Imran Khan, Gary Sobers or Sourav Ganguly.

Is it a coincidence that Bucknor has made most of his poor decisions against India ? Even before the test match started, I had a feeling we might be undone by Bucknor and it looks like it is contageous with Benson joining in.

Posted by Ardent_Cricket_Fan on (January 8, 2008, 6:12 GMT)

Think back to September 2003, and the Pakistan-Bangladesh series. Then Pakistan captain Rashid Latif was docked for claiming a catch, when the ball had touched the ground. He was suspended for five games -- effectively missing the entire one day series between the two sides.

On that occasion, the match referee while handing out his sentence said: "As captain a lot of responsibility falls of Rashid Latif and he committed a serious offence by claiming that (unfair) catch which constitutes unfair play and a level-three offence of ICC [Images] code of conduct (offensive and penalties). Therefore, the Pakistani captain shall be banned for five one-day internationals."

The match referee was -- surprise, surprise -- Mike Procter no less; the same official currently in the hot seat in the India versus Australia series.

Is this fair? Someone needs to refresh Mr.Prcoter's memory!?

Posted by Sola on (January 8, 2008, 6:11 GMT)

I am an Indian and I still believ that Ponting and Aussie are not wrong in appealing. Over the years and accross the world it is the trend and practice that no batsman moves out of the crease till umpire declare him out and none is an exemption to this except Gilly. The system of neutral umpires was introduced when teams faced problems with the home umpire. Just because of some human error,if neutral umpires of are to be removed then the option left is to keep the members of the playing team as is followed in street cricket. If we talk about spirit of the game, the ideal thing to do is forget everying thing and go to Perth with a positive mind and strategy.

Posted by Sudhir1 on (January 8, 2008, 6:11 GMT)

I'm quoting here an open letter I found on the web to Ricky Ponting. This pretty much sums it up...

Dear Mr.Ponting,

Firstly congratulations on starting the New year by winning the Sydney Test match, it was a fantastic come from behind victory, one which will rival the victory at Adelaide in the Ashes in 2006. Many congratulations also on equaling the record of securing 16 consecutive Test wins on the trot.

Dare I say it though, deep down there must be a certain lack of satisfaction about the manner in which the win was completed. No, I'm talking about you not contributing anything and getting out to Harbhajan faster than he can say "Tandoori Chicken". I'm talking about the spirit and the sportsmanship with which the game was played. I know what you are thinking," the Umpiring is neutral, how can you blame the Australians for that."

Yes, you are probably right, though a bad decision count of 9 to 1 in favor of the Australians can hardly be termed as neutral. Anil Kumble said at

Posted by Krishdang on (January 8, 2008, 6:11 GMT)

All of us are entirely focussed on who's fault was it. Move on. There is no quck fix to this problem. ICC hasn't done any favour either & rather garnished it further with it's childish decision. Two problems namely Poor umpiring and Racism/sledging, should be looked at separately. Problem #1 - It is an open secret that umpires did some horrific errors in the game. Fair enough they are human beings but time now to show they have balls to claim they are real men. Not long ago when Sangakara was wrongly given out just on the verge of getting his double hundred, the umpire realised it & apologised to him. Why couldn't the culprits do this-this time. Problem # 2 - I wish someone had a head on his shoulder. Well I don't think it's the time to go to Supreme Court. Rather take the suspension decision back and warn both teams to be careful. Then do something to raise the standard of umpiring.Also there should be a pre-match session about the cultural knowhow. Better than learning languages.

Posted by qlksvr on (January 8, 2008, 6:09 GMT)

Peter, someone, probably a kindygarden teacher, needs to explain to you that there are always two sides to a story. How about you for once stop shining the halo of the indian cricket side. Isnt it funny how you dont mention a thing in your articles about how Ganguly questioned the umpire and how a few of the indian batsman didnt walk after been given out.

Posted by moturi on (January 8, 2008, 6:09 GMT)

I also completely agree with Peter. I am an Indian. From childhood i was a great fan of the Australian team but from the past 3-4 yrs i was very frustrated with the way they are playing cricket. I party with my friends whenever some team beats australia. All the things i hated about the team opened up on the sydney test. Its for all to see who played the test with the spirit of the game. Kumble was perfectly right to what he said.

Posted by improve_the_cricket on (January 8, 2008, 6:07 GMT)

I agree. Some comments above disagree that Ponting needs to understand the seriousness of the situation. I read winning attitude in between in those comments. It is actually winning at any cost attitude. Ponting has not only hurt others but his own soul (and he will know it when he will sit alone and think about what happened). He has also changed the great gentlemen Gilchrist. Remember, Gilchrist never apealed if he knew that it is not out. He walks and thats remarkable. But just see the 2nd inning's dismissal of Rahul Dravid. The first reaction from Gilchrist was to grab the ball and as habit go over stumps with ball in gloves. But as soon as he realized others were apealing he apealed. And I can second this by some more observations in recent past matches where when Gilchrist didn't apeal when others were apealing. Every other near standing player of the Australian side looked at him with anger. Definitely, they have changed Gilchrist. So Mr. Ponting, congrats.. and get well soon.

Posted by cosair89 on (January 8, 2008, 6:06 GMT)

Ponting thought he did the right thing by dobbing Harbhajan. A good captain and a leader will not make a decision unless he thinks ahead and evaluates the possible consequences. Unfortunatley Ponting though having a good cricketing brain, lacks in other respects of thinking. The end result is a complete disaster. India are no pushovers these days and the Indians will not succumb to those who do the wrong thing. It is about time Ricky Ponting and his band of bandits are taught a lesson on diplomacy, level headedness and leaving what is said on the field on the field. There are other ways of settling disputes.

Posted by Jossy on (January 8, 2008, 6:05 GMT)

Eclipse, I think you are missing the whole point. Prior to the series it was decided that the captains would decide whether catches were in fact taken by their team. Because of this agreement, the umpire looked to Ponting, who believed his teammate, to say whether the catch would be claimed. It was, he was out. End of story. Kumble had the final decision on whether 50/50 catches were taken by his teammates too, it was not just Ponting. I cannot understand how it is "sickening"???

Posted by kool_bhavesh on (January 8, 2008, 6:04 GMT)

I couldn't agree more with you Mr.English.Ponting is either a fool or he thinks the whole world is a fool and will take his words on umpiring,Harbhajan affair,his so called 'integrity',bla bla bla...He and his team mates have delebrately targeted Harbhajan without even thinking its consiquences.There is no doubt he is Harbhajan's bunny and that India defeated them in T20 World Cup and Harbhajan & Shreesanth gave the Australians the taste of their own medicine in recent times, was too difficult for him to digest.I think his actions have divided the two nations,and further it might even divide the ICC.And from here on,even if the matter is resloved,it will be very difficult for him and his partners-in-crime teammates to come down to India to play any sort of cricket, be it to represent Australia or in IPL. Mr.Ponting,its better you leave cricket and start playing rugby for Australia.

Posted by adityap on (January 8, 2008, 6:04 GMT)

Well, Ponting is aware of the situation alright, but to admit that will be to admit that the Australian team did not stick to their own Code of Conduct - which is apparently stricter than that of the ICC, and hence to admit that they didn't play fair. To everyone that thinks that India (and Indians) are sore just because we lost the match, let me just say this. There wasn't anything said when we were beaten (soundly) in Melbourne, its not the loss that rankles, but the manner in which the test was taken away. Not to mention Ponting's supercilious behaviour.

Posted by AlokJoshi on (January 8, 2008, 6:03 GMT)

Peter, you are absolutely right, when you urge Ricky to open his eyes.

Ricky should learn from a fellow Australian, Victor Trumper - a thorough gentleman, both on and off the field - to know what is takes to be a cricketing legend; and improve his reputation while he still has a chance. Otherwise, future generations will remember him as one who cared little for the spirit of the game notwithstanding his achievements as a batsman and record as a captain. For now, he is unfit to be captain of Australia. He must exit and give Australian cricket team an opportunity to improve its image.

He is blinded by success but forgets success has a tendency to fade. He knows of the seriousness of current controversies but does not want to acknowledge it. He just wants to win at any cost. Kumble's one liner conveys everything yet he chooses to chide at journalists asking posing questions. His attitude is totally unacceptable. But... dont we need a preschool teacher to reach out to his ears!

Posted by CricLuva on (January 8, 2008, 6:03 GMT)

What a load of rubbish Peter. Your evidence is that "contentious catching rulings, sledging, poor sportsmanship, persistent appeals on flagging umpires, and ungracious celebrations" were performed by Australia. Anyone could argue that India performed these acts too. For instance when India were up 6 for 134. Every ball had an appeal. In addition, how about Harbijhan's reaction after he got Ponting out in the second innings? Everyone is simply excited and want to win the game. India would have been just as happy as Australia if they had won. For example the world cup 20twenty final. Its great stuff. This is why it is a "game". You write so much rubbish Peter. Maybe your job should be in question.

Posted by iane on (January 8, 2008, 6:02 GMT)

The Indians were dudded by bad umpiring, and that caused most of the tensions. I don't think Ponting did a lot wrong. Frivolous appeals and reluctance to walk are not capital crimes. He appeared to be honest in declining one catch and claiming two. The post-match celebrations were fairly typical. I heard the teams did a walk-past and each player shook the hand of every opponent. At the press conference Ponting understandably asserted his integrity in response to a provocative question.

Neither team was faultless. The Indians conducted time wasting and, apparently, racial taunts. Authorities should get Symonds & Harbhajan to shake hands, reduce Harbhajan's suspension, and then focus on improving the umpiring.

Posted by getOffRickysBack on (January 8, 2008, 6:01 GMT)

I think your article is a disgrace. How dare you question the intelligence of Ricky Ponting and indirectly at that? Have the balls to come out and say it straight mate.

Ricky has done nothing more than perhaps be a little curt with the media. He has every right to behave this way when people are flagrantly questioning his integrity and character direct to his face. What should he do, just faintly sit back and take that? In other endeavours such questions would be tantamount to libel.

There are certain facts that are indisputable in recent events:

1. The umpiring was substandard. This is the ICC's fault, not Pontings. 2. Harbajhan has been found guilty on dubious evidence by an impartial match referee. If there is an issue with this, that's the ICC's fault again, not Ricky Ponting's.

If the Indian's are unhappy with Australia celebrating a record-equalling win, so be it. They should be unhappy they lost because true competitors want to win and win fair.

How is this Ponting's fault?

Posted by mclgnd on (January 8, 2008, 6:00 GMT)

Ponting cannot be blamed for the appalling decisions made by Messrs Bucknor and Benson, but he is a critical part of everything else that has happened from the Harbhajan incident ('I dont go running to the umpires') to claiming catches that weren't (the Dhoni incident) to his position that everything is rosy. Lets not forget the incident with Gareth Hopkins in the Chappell-Hadlee when Michael Clarke claimed a catch that wasnt.

Sportsmanship is a lost art to this group of Australian cricketers who seem far more intent on a legacy of winning than playing the game right. Im sure that there is a group of former Australian captains in the Channel 9 com-box that would like to point this out to him

Posted by crickettragic111 on (January 8, 2008, 6:00 GMT)

Sorry but I can't understand what Ponting has done wrong here. I would have preferred the Singh/Symonds issue to be sorted out on the field. That being said the ICC requested that ANY racist incidents be reported and after the BCCI's attitude to what happened in India recently I can see why the Australians acted as they did. Once the report was made it's up to Mike Proctor to make a decision. How this can be blamed on Australia has me mystified. Yes Michael Clark shouldn't have waited but I think he was in shock like Yuvraj in Melbourne. If the celebrations went a bit overboard there was every reason for it as the team had just acheiced another amazing victory. I'm sure the Indians celebrated pretty hard after their win in Chennai. As to overzealous appealing India have a history of being as bad as anyone in that catagory Let the Indian Board call off the series, take thier bat and ball and go home. Their response to this seems to be the most childish part of the entire episode

Posted by supervishal on (January 8, 2008, 5:59 GMT)

The ban of Harbajan may be harsh and since the match referee has made hsi decision based more on the sayings of the Aussie Players. But is it really necessary for Harbjan to give an opportunity to Aussies by entering into argument with the aussies that too when things were going so smoothly for Indians.

As for the decisions of the Umpires players should accept them unless there is a clear bias in favour of a team with wrong inetentions. Can any bowler say that all the wickets taken by them have come through correct decisions? Were Warne, Murali, Wasim, Kumble etc., were never favoured by Umpires through mistakes at one time or other? Similarly can all batsman say that they never got a favourable decision in their career? Come on, Cricketers these things get evened out over a long carrer. Let us celebrate the sport and enjoy the game. Players have to overcome all these hurdles.

Posted by RAM.VAYAN on (January 8, 2008, 5:58 GMT)

I totally agree with the Anil Kumble. As as true sports lover We Indians always expect sincere cricket to be played. As Anil Kumble is an symbolic of true sportmenship as India, we always expect other teams should be fair and sincere cricket should be played. I do respect Australians for their aggressiveness and every time likes to win the match, but it should be in proper way of doing that. We hope this kind of Incident will not repeat in future involving any teams. Best of luck Anil & Ricky.

Posted by freo4premiers on (January 8, 2008, 5:57 GMT)

Firstly, why is all the heat on Ricky Ponting when it was Harbhajan Singh who went against the agreement that BOTH captains made regarding . It is possible to still sledge and get under the opposition's skin without using racist terms, this is something that the Australian team do well, hence none of the Aussies being reported. If they had then surely the Indians would follow suit and report them as we did with Singh.

And secondly, Ricky Ponting and his team are well within their right to appeal to the umpires as much as they want if they feel a batsman is out. And considering that we were the only team trying to actually win the game, we did this, resulting in an excellent win. Sure it was unnecessary for Ponting to send Ganguly on his way, but isn't that just a sign that he plays the game with passion? Opposition teams can cry foul as much as they want, but at the end of the day perhaps they should worry more about trying to match the Aussies on the field...

Posted by DelatiteCC on (January 8, 2008, 5:57 GMT)

Aussie cricket has been dealt a serious blow... and if the public here can't see that, then they are blinkered just like our national captain. These days there is a widening gulf between gamemanship, and sportsmanship. Money has ruined our once noble game !

India were very hard done by at the SCG, but they could gain quite a lot more respect if they get on with things despite the outcome of Harbhajan's appeal.

Posted by funatic on (January 8, 2008, 5:57 GMT)

As a West Indian supporter, I congratulate the Indian team and board for the testicular fortitude displayed. This could only improve the standard of the game. Ponting's approach has always been to target key members of opposing teams to create disharmony and chaos in their respective teams for the benefit of his 'spirit of the game'. Don't get me wrong, I congratulate them for their undoubted accomplishments as cricketers but as sportsmen, they are seriously lacking. Whether it's Lara, Murali, Shoaib, Flintoff or Harbhajan in this case, they've targeted them at all costs. As role models, I am truly disappointed in their methodology and despite their record equaling tally of victories, they may have won the battle but have most certainly lost the war. It's an injustice to Australians, supporters worldwide and international CRICKET! For some of us, it's more admirable and honourable to have been beaten but not disgraced than to win at any cost, I pity Ponting and his team.

Posted by Supratik on (January 8, 2008, 5:55 GMT)

As an Indian supporter and long standing admirer of Australian cricket, it was painful to watch these 'wild dogs' - as the venerable Roebuck puts it - at work during the 5 days. Are these the men from the country of Benaud, Bradman and Trumper? What would Border and Mark Taylor have done? I am sure it would not be what was on view at SCG. The fact of the matter is that Ponting and his pirates knew that they could set the record of 17 wins easily, if they could 'manage' the Sydney test. Perth would not be difficult to conquer where India has always struggled. So they stooped to unmentionable levels to wriggle out a win at Sydney. All this posturing by Ponting after the match is petulance and childish at best and rougish at worst. You are right Peter, it is time for Ricky to go back to school of social behaviour and take that 'cheat' Clarke along with him. Is 'Pup' the future of Australia? God help him! And Indians need to think is Australian way the best way to play the game? No way

Posted by DasUsa on (January 8, 2008, 5:53 GMT)

I am not sure if Ponting needs to sacked but for sure he needs to open his eyes. Anybody can commit mistakes, but a sensible person also accepts them. Ricky Ponting has already been branded as headstrong and arrogant - not so serious though. But with taking the word of Michael Clark for the catch and then defending later with rude remarks to the reporters shows his state of mind. The stakes are high for him as he will be branded as a cheat in history of cricket. He must realize, I will be surprised if he does, that everybody will move on except for his own reputation. Ask umpire Benson about it. The poor man who thought Ponting is the icon of a sportsman with integrity, must be kicking himself for his belief which is shattered now.

If Ponting comes out now and says sorry, it not only will lift him as sportsman and but also as a human being. And there is another small matter of rest of the world which will be satisfied and possibly not demand for many heads.

Posted by Saeed.Lodhi on (January 8, 2008, 5:52 GMT)

Australians are arrogant because they cant help it . . . the success of the past decade or so have changed their thinking habits . . . no doubt they are invincible for the last dozen years or so but I guess its time they should be reminded that there were times when the Australian side led by Mr. Border & Mr. Chappell were beaten 3-0 and similar . . . West Indian side of 80's also enjoyed huge success but they never employed the tactics similar to what Australian are doing these days . . . I believe that Mr. Ponting and his team should be given a crash course on Moral ethics and Behavior . . . and please somebody in Australia tell Mr. Ricky Ponting & his mates, how their reputation has been tarnished by the events of SCG Test Match.

Posted by superduper1 on (January 8, 2008, 5:52 GMT)

Ponting dived to hold catch of Dhoni and claimed that he completed the catch neatly but the replays shows that the ball was grounded before completing the catch. It really questions the integrity and sprit of pointing while playing. Playing with passion does not mean that you cheat.

Posted by AKRAMB on (January 8, 2008, 5:51 GMT)

First of all i would say that the Test match would have finished in 4 days only if everyone was honest. Morever it is Australian team dont like to lose any match in their country and to do so they can do anything and the example we have seen in this test. India should call off this tour and i am sure many other cricket playing country will support this and they will follow the same. I am sure Australia team will learn a good lesson from this.

Posted by alsa on (January 8, 2008, 5:51 GMT)

If we start collecting all the words that Ponting and his men use on the field, then we would have a very huge book spanning multiples of thousands of pages with majority of the text containing the characters like #$@&. None of them will be publish-able words. And now he goes to "the teacher" for something said by the opponent. Now he is a good boy and he does what "the teacher" asks him to do. Should I say who needs to grow up. Is only australia entitled for sledging.

Who in the indian team that ponting doesn't want to see the next game? Does that ring a bell. If it is somebody else, i am sure that it would have stayed on the field and wouldn't have gone to match referee. Ponting might want to throw me out of this forum for questioning his integrity.

Posted by RahulMN on (January 8, 2008, 5:48 GMT)

I think the whole issue is spiralling out of control, and doing grave damage to cricket and to India-Australia relations - which have previously been very good. Its not worth it. I think both teams need to move on. Australia need to clean up their onfield behaviour (well past time), and India need to abandon their petulance too.

Posted by Divyesh_Sydney on (January 8, 2008, 5:48 GMT)

I'm completely agree with Peter. The match was between India vs "Australia and Umpires." And how come Match Referee bilieve Ricky and his mates who are well known for their less-sportsmanspirit. And Sachin - the best known for his sportsman spirit - who said that Bhajji didn't abuse Symond. Why he was not believed? Isn't this recism? Come on people be fair. India should go back to home. It is a question of every single Indian's pride and honour.

Posted by Man_From_The_Snowy_River on (January 8, 2008, 5:47 GMT)

I completely agree with Peter on this instance. I know that Australian cricket team is strong and they play hard. However, most of the guys like Punter, Gilly & even Symmo in the team have attidude problems. The team tends to whinge whenever they don't get a result in their favour. Gilly may be a walker while he bats but when he stands behind the stumps, he tends to appeal to anything that he thinks that the umpire might raise the finger. Clear example - raucous appealing for the Dravid's 2nd innings dismissal - TRUELY SHAMEFUL, he is in the best position to know as to whether the ball touched the bat or not (there was a huge gap between the ball and the bat/glove). Punter took the bat-pad catch when Dhoni was playing and from the replay it clearly showed that eventhough it was in his hand, half of the ball clearly touched the ground. In recent tours Australian team tends to get quiet a number of Umpiring decisions in their favour. However, in SCG it was blatanty obvious.

Posted by _Pog_ on (January 8, 2008, 5:46 GMT)

India are upset about decisions made by neutral umpires and match referee. Stop blaming Ricky Ponting and the Australian team.

Posted by PuffingBilly on (January 8, 2008, 5:45 GMT)

If you feel the Australians behaviour was acceptable then I'm not proud to call myself Australian. Ponting needs another smack in the mouth like a few years back. He should pull his head in - which used to be the way Australians conducted themselves. Now it seems winning is everything and we are losing all our ideals like a "fair go" and "mateship" in the pursuit of winning. Winning graciously is completely foreign to the likes of Ponting.

And if you think I wouldn't knock him down a peg or two personally - I would relish the opportunity.

You are embarrassing the Nation Ricky so pull your head in and do something on and off the field that will raise the tone not lower it. Lucky for you the CEO of Aus cricket is weak. If he was a man he would have kicked your backside so hard your nose would bleed.

Posted by crickstats on (January 8, 2008, 5:42 GMT)

I think as the most talented team they should be very serious about their conduct. I agree with people who say Australia doesn't play in the right spirit. Winning is not everything in cricket and Australia will do anything to win.

Posted by ddd_mil on (January 8, 2008, 5:42 GMT)

I find it very funny how people are accusing the australians for over celebrating. Have a look at when Harbhajan got ricky ponting out? He was doing summersault rolls over the ground and running around. People are complaing about a team getting together to celebrate a win? They jumped around excitedly? Some people here should watch other sports like Footbal. 60% of footbal matches end up with someone takeing there shirt off cause they scored a goal and running around like an idiot, yet a team who just won an incredible match(even with the bad calls) and got a record 16 straight victories cant celebrate a little bit? I find the one sided views of alot of these reporters to be really really amazingly stupid. If ricky ponting should be sacked as captain for celebrating a win, shouldnt Kumble be sacked cause he allowed one of his players to verbally abuse, and slur racist comments to an opposing player? Now india are oposing swearing in a match(brad hogg)yet they defend racism? yeh right

Posted by FunkMate on (January 8, 2008, 5:42 GMT)

All the aussie fans who believe that Ricky Ponting does not deserve to be criticized, I agree with you completely. I mean, isn't he the perfect role model for cricket? Young kids can idolize watching their hero mouthing off choicest abuses at practically every opposing team (just ask KP, Graeme Smith or the Kiwis). So what if he lies, or cheats - it's all about winning...right mates?

Posted by Ells on (January 8, 2008, 5:41 GMT)

I can't believe there are so many people calling for Ponting's head. I'm sure the Aussies sledge oponents continually but that is not uncommon in top level sport and is part of the game. If anyone stoops to racial sledging they should be harshly punished as all sports people know that to be an unacceptable form of sledging. Yes the umpiring was also poor but that is certainly not the Aussies fault and should be taken up with the ICC. As for walking and appealing for dismissals with little to no chance of success - grow up! Both teams appealled for a lot of fanciful decisions and that has been the case throughout international cricket for a long time and as for walking - when was the last time an Indian batsmen walked? Hardly anyone walks in international cricket and it should not be expected of any batsmen until ALL batsmen agree to walk which will never happen.

Posted by spolsani on (January 8, 2008, 5:40 GMT)

I completely agree with Peter. Australians are causing big damage to the game. It is not because Australia won the game, it is because how the game was played. I call Pontingand all Australian cricket team oppertunistic and doublestandard, when the game is not tight their behavious is different and when the game is tight they do not even think twice in breaking rules. Just understand one point when Ponting was given out lbw when he nicked the ball he was not at all happy and did all sort of things, Ponting and all Australian team grow up and start behaving.

Posted by Harpreet on (January 8, 2008, 5:39 GMT)

I think Ponting is an arrogant captain who just wants to win matches by hook or crook. He wants to show the world that he is the best captain in history of sport and is willing to go any extent for that. If he feels he is better than Steve Waugh, than I would like to walk across to him n show him the clips of matches Steve won. I believe it would be good for Cricket especially for Australian cricket if he steps down from captainship. His actions and attitude have left a black spot on not only him but the whole team.

Posted by Dravidesque on (January 8, 2008, 5:39 GMT)

The way Micheal Clarke stood his ground after edging the ball to first slip says it all. When he edges it he waits for the umpire decision, when he catches it he will not. I have heard of multiple personality disorder may be this is one such case.

Posted by DrJem on (January 8, 2008, 5:36 GMT)

I have seen many comments on the 'excessive' celebration and think Australia is being very hard done by. Anybody who has participated in a close, surprise sporting win can understand that it is very possible to get wrapped up in the moment of victory (and don't forget they had just retained the trophy too. Does that make it alright that they were wrapped up? No - but it is not exactly the offence it is made put to be.. I am sureRicky and the team would have been gracious on the podium at least. I also find it funny that the same people who lament this celebration are choosing to ignore Harbajan's antics on dismissing Ponting - far more unusual in the normal standards of the game and more distracting because the game was still in progress.

When did the Australians cheat? Nobody in world cricket walks (except Gilchrist). Ponting beleived his player who believed he caught it and answered the question he was asked by the umpire - what was Ricky supposed to do, ignore Benson?

Posted by version1 on (January 8, 2008, 5:34 GMT)

Yea india got some bad calls as far as umpiring is concerned. But all this hoppla wont happen if it was another team playing. The indian media has made it a huge deal and everybody is taking sides. The thing is that they lost the game and like a child who has been beaten are making all the excuses. That dosent mean that im with Ponting and think what he did was right. Ponting is like cut throat business executive who would do almost anything to make a profit. He wants to break the world record of test wins more than anything and he wants to do it by beating india. His brilliance has been overshadowed by his ego. I think everybody really needs to cool down and keep the cricket going.. And to think BCCI is gonna cancel the tour becuase of Harbajan incident is very very extreme. He should not be banned but should be given a full repremand or somthing like that. Intelligent heads needs to come together and work the situation out.

Posted by kushagra0710 on (January 8, 2008, 5:33 GMT)

i dont think that ponting is not aware of the gravity of the situation. but he feels that by accepting that the situation is grim, he would be incriminating himself. and that is not something a person like ponting would do

Posted by akrai on (January 8, 2008, 5:33 GMT)

The Sidney test match brutally exposed ponting and his men of 'fair play' and so called 'spirit(!) of the game'. The way ponting behaved on the field appealing frivolously and unsportingly(and even Mr.Gilchirst, let alone others!) was a real shocker. Ponting and his men have lost their credibility. Their reputation as walkers(which they were boasting of and trying to preach to the world) suffered an irrepairable damage. Hereafter nobody in the world will trust them. Winning alone is not important, the means used to achieve the wins are most important. Adding insult to the injury are the match officials(including third umpire and match refree) who appeared to be a bunch of jokers and behaved like 'supporting staff' to the Australian team. The Aussies can win games like this but never the hearts of cricket lovers. Its disgusting.

Posted by chugball on (January 8, 2008, 5:32 GMT)

The great australian moral of "what happens on the field stays on the field" has been disgraced. This is what the media think, i think that is bullshit. The only great australian way that should be coming under scrutiny is our pathetic excuse for media and their love to jump on the backs of our heros at any sign of hardship. Our cricketers did nothing but show great australian values of passsion and a never say die attitude, excuse me if they were a bit excited at the end, but they had just equalled a world record in the last minutes of 5 day test. On the Harbhajan matter i think he was extremely lucky to only get three matches. Racism is one of the more serious issues sport and he has clearly stepped over the line with a real intent to hurt andrew symmonds. In any other job Harbhajan would be sacked, and be facing serious legal charges. India are now acting disrespectfully to the umpires, the australians, the ICC and the many people who are against racism. I am really disappointed..

Posted by Suneer on (January 8, 2008, 5:30 GMT)

In response to Gavin's query above, it is very much possible I believe, the great West Indian team of the 1980s, and even the Aussie Invincibles prove ample testimony. Agreed, they would have played tough cricket, but their transgressions were more of a one-off. Unlike what's been happening with Aussie cricket for long now. Bhajji on his part, may or may not have used the M-word, but without evidence, he's NOT guilty. I do not see any Aussie cricketer getting a three match ban had there been no evidence.

About the puerile nature of Ponting, it has shown time and again, and the SCG test was another one in queue. I have no problems with what is been said on field, but when two captains decide they would walk if the fielder claims the catch, and then the Clarke and Ponting (to Dhoni) incidents happen, it smacks of ridiculous unfair play...not only unsporting play. The umpires were incompetent, and that is the biggest compliment one can give 'em

Posted by Harry_Potter_ on (January 8, 2008, 5:30 GMT)

I totally agree with you Peter. Being from Pakistan, you can well imagine I am no great supporter of India. But what transpired over the five days of the Sydney test was for everyone to see. I read posts above from people talking about umpiring decisions and thats the way "cookies crumble". I think Australian supporters have lost their minds. The decisions that went against India i.e Symonds (given not out), Dravid (given out) etc. where absolute SHOCKERS. Those kind of decisions shouldn't happen in Grade I cricket, forget test match cricket. Secondly, I just don't understand Ponting. He took offense to what a reporter said during the press conference about him taking the catch of Dhoni "cleanly" &I quote him "I am 100% sure that I took that catch cleanly". Well, Punter, I suggest you take a look at the video replays. You have the ball in you hand whilst it is touching the grass. I think you need to revisit the Cricketing Laws as to what is a "clean" catch. Shameful display!

Posted by beachcricket on (January 8, 2008, 5:29 GMT)

what infuriated everyone was ponting claiming Dhoni's 'catch' and later confirming that he had it 100%. I am surprised how a sane fielder would not have any doubts about the 'catch' which would have prompted him to check the replays on vedio, before claiming that he had it 100% at the press conference. Is Ponting on denial? As P English wrote may be he is just a child that refuses to believe he could be wrong. My admiration for Ponting vanished in the last two days and regardless of how many runs he scores, he will always be remebered for his disgraceful behaviour and should never be made example of as a cricketer (unless of course you want to highlight bad behaviour in the field). If CA does not act on this, i could consider them spineless as BCCI is and character-less as Ponting is. After all heroes need to display character. On this ocassion Ponting failed miserably. If Ponting kept up with his behaviour and blatant lying he could even beat Tiger Woods in golf.

Posted by octomania on (January 8, 2008, 5:27 GMT)

Winners are grinners , the rest can please themselves Ponting has been scorned more for winning the test. Harbajan was harshly dealt with by getting 3 weeks but that is no reason to abandon the tour. India can only blame themselves for losing the test, if they could survive 5 overs 90% of these complaints would have died down leaving the poor umpiring and Harbajan's report as the only issues and separate at that. Ponting should be championed , we want racism stamped out but as soon as someone reports it people complain. If Harbajan spending 3 matches on the sidelines quietens him and warns others this can only be a good thing for the game

Posted by Chakku on (January 8, 2008, 5:27 GMT)

Ponting is well aware of the situation, he will not sit like Anil Kumble if his opponant behave like them. I'm very much surprised that the most talanted team in the world is behaving like street players, and they call them as mind game. You can't expect honesty in the game from Ponting, and it is proved in the visuals of the game. I very well remembered the word by Ponting at the presentation cermony of the last one day seris which is played in India, "If the players are honest we were lead the seris by 4-1". This is the comment on Karthik's nick by Ponting. It is proved he advaice only to others.

Posted by pepper_boy on (January 8, 2008, 5:26 GMT)

I feel that India should continue the tour, but the fab four to be rested for the next match, and make a mockery of the record 17 test victories of Australia in the 17th test. Play your second string team and rest all seniors including Anil.

Posted by Pushpak on (January 8, 2008, 5:26 GMT)

i Respected Australia as a Team but after knowing the fact that they can't digest defeat or swallow back is making me feel again about the Team.

I loved Australian spirit as a Nation about sports loving culture but if you can't accept Lose with grace then you can't say yourself a sportsman.

Posted by ani_gopal on (January 8, 2008, 5:24 GMT)

Thank you Peter, for enlightening all those who were deluded to think the Aussie team are a perfect bunch of saints (that's not to say that they are completely and totally evil). Cricket is a gentleman's game, and they way the Australians carry on for an appeal - its almost as if they are trying their best to cheat (i.e. dravid's ridiculous dismissal?) and the most worrying outcome is when the umpires seem to succumb to the "surety" of the celebrations and think it the batsman is certainly out. They then seem to think that if the umpires are giving them favourable decisions, they can have some leverage when batting - i.e. when Clarke's thick edge flew to dravid - CLEARLY OUT - yet Clarke stood his ground - for the man tipped to be the future captain of Australia, pup needs to acquire a sense of morality soon so he can lead a team of Aussies who uphold the nationally prevalent "fair-go" slogan, because you can't teach and old dog new tricks.

Posted by zed_350 on (January 8, 2008, 5:23 GMT)

I agree with Sherminators, everyone is Ponting, Aussie, Bucknor and Benson bashing at the moment and no one is looking at the way India conducted themselves during this test. Journos are talking about constant appealing by the Aussies, how about we look at Kumble and Harbhajan on day four screaming howzat for everything that even touched a batsmans pads. Bad sportsmanship? how about we look at Harbhajans celebration after the dismissal of Ricky Ponting in the second innings? And the issue of racism, if Harbhajan did make a racist comment to Andrew Symonds he deserves everything he gets! If things were reversed i gaurantee that the offending Aussie would be nailed to the cross harder than Harbhajan. India need to have a good hard look at themselves! i dont see any Australians burning effigies in the street just because they were hard done by in a game of cricket!

Posted by Salmon89 on (January 8, 2008, 5:22 GMT)

Why is Ponting is receiving all this criticism? Ponting can't be blamed for the umpiring errors. Australia can't be blamed for celebrating (it's their JOB to play cricket & win). He made the umpires aware that he didn't catch Dravid in the 1st innings. He believed he caught Dhoni cleanly - that's another debate - he had control of the ball & the catch had been completed when the ball touched the ground (if this is not a legitimate catch does that also mean that if a player catches a ball then throws it on the ground then it is not out? - I think not). Ponting has a responsibility imposed by the ICC to report racist remarks - if he does not, then he may face action by the ICC. He can't be blamed for Clarke lingering at the crease, only Pup can explain this. Ponting can't be blamed for Symonds not walking - & how many of the Indians would have walked in the same situation? None?! However Ricky is naive if he thinks he doesn't need to sit down with Anil to discuss a way forward.

Posted by Akhsami on (January 8, 2008, 5:22 GMT)

What a storm in a teacup! If there was an agreement between the captains that each will accept the word of the fielding side then that is it, its done. Stop crying about it! Yes Symonds was out in the first innings and had he been given out, India may have won the test match. But the Indians have short memories, remember the Lords test last summer? Shreesanth was also out and not given, and he was the last man standing, i.e. India would definitely have lost that match. Also just a few weeks ago Sidebottom was incorrectly given out against Sri Lanka and England lost, yet it did not cause an international crises. As far as the racism slur, it is one team's word against another. Pollock made a judgement, India is within its right to appeal, but it is definitely abusing its standing in World Cricket when it attaches a threat of abandoning the tour along with that appeal. Had India won at Sydney and the series was 1-1, they would have appealed and played on. Cmon India stop being cry babies

Posted by barrymundy on (January 8, 2008, 5:21 GMT)

Peter, I agree with most of what you say. As a 67yo Australian cricket tragic I am hugely disappointed with the way our team handles both victory and defeat ... they don't seem to have a clue how to act in either situation. I think back to the 2005 Edgbaston test and that [now] famous photograph of Andrew Flintoff comforting Brett Lee after England won ... and compare that with the recent antics of our team in Sydney when they 'won' the second test against India. Although I will continue to support Australia, they are walking a very thin line indeed. I hope they learn from recent events that being gracious in both victory and defeat will earn them more respect than they have at the moment as a result of their behaviour on and off the playing field.

Posted by narayananal on (January 8, 2008, 5:21 GMT)

We are not whinging about the decisions given by the Umpires like Australians. What they did when they lost a Test in Mumbai crying that the pitch is sub-standard and not conceding that the better team has won. Now they say that Indians are whinging. Moreover India won the test without the help of umpires and so called sportsmanship shown by the Australians. We do not want anyone to teach us as to how we should play. Rather they should be thought as to how to behave in the sports field.

Posted by quincey on (January 8, 2008, 5:20 GMT)

Now umpiring. India is complaining about 9 of the 12 decisions that went against them during the test. At just a rough estimate there would be 13 decisions to make every delivery - not counting those made at the end of the over in relation to time etc and those made by the square leg umpire, so lets just say a round 15 to average it out. Now in a test match that runs its full course, there are a minimum of 2700 deliveries, requiring 40500 decisions, the indians claim that there were 12 errors, that gives a percentage of 0.03%. Now lets look at Sachin Tendulkar, you have to admit his mistake in the second innings - so that is say 5 decisions every delivery for 269 deliveries faced in the test, for one glaringly obvious mistake which leaes us with 0.07% error. I think we need to replace Sachin with technology!!!

Posted by ash_parmarnz on (January 8, 2008, 5:19 GMT)

this situation which is out in front of us has been boiling up for last 3 or 4 series beetween this country and the pandora's box has finally opened

someone should ask ICC why ponting and clarke are not being charged for un-sportsmanship like conduct and claiming false catches

where is there 2-3 match bans????

Posted by indian_team_fan on (January 8, 2008, 5:17 GMT)

(True...Ricky is verrry immature). And he has to learn that sometimes even the grown-ups loose sometime in their life and not everythings about winning, it's also about being fair. And i hope little ricky understands and hopefully realises what he's done. But its not to late to apologise, so go out there, now don't be shy or egoistic, and say sorry. It's simple you see...

Posted by Mishal on (January 8, 2008, 5:16 GMT)

Rick reminds me of the naked emperor who went on with parading. One can desire win but never at the cost of one's own credentials. Unfortunately Mr. Ponting has done more damage than he can repair.

Posted by TheDevilHimself on (January 8, 2008, 5:15 GMT)

What everyone is disgusted here is with the moral high ground Ricky Ponting and his team are taking which they have no right to do.

How can you expect the oppostion team to trust your integrity or 'take your word' for any decision if on you dont leave the field when you clearly nicked the ball to the keeper, appeal for a catch when you clearly grounded the ball, sledge when your team is down, but complain like school children when the other team gives it back. ( I will still not believe it was a racist slur by Harby, as it was one players word against the other, and at the given moment I DONT trust the integrity of the Australians at all, to take their word for anything. And that too from Symonds who nicked the ball so hard, even the deaf would have heard, but refused to walk).Or Clarke, who refuses to leave the field after nicking the ball to first slip and then claims a catch which he grounded. Take off your blinkered glasses Mr. Ponting.

Love the nation, but HATE the team.

Posted by Seeeeen on (January 8, 2008, 5:14 GMT)

I don't want to sound biased, because I am not, but I sometimes don't understand how or why Australia cop so much flack for what sometimes are minor incidents, and what a number of other countries have been doing for many years. I only have to think back to when Harbhajan took his hat-trick against Australia. I seem to remeber an extreme excess of appealing which undoubtedly pressured the umpire into making some very poor decisions. If I remember correctly two of the dismissals in the hat-trick should not have been given out. Adam Gilchrist for one was given out LBW to a ball that he hit and which hit him outside the line of off stump.

Teams from the sub-continent have a history of excessive appealing and if Harbhajan's 3 test ban is overturned it is quite obvious that they have control over the ICC.

I have no doubt that Australia have played their part in this controversy, but to acuse them of cheating and excessive appealing... let's get real.

Posted by david_robbo on (January 8, 2008, 5:09 GMT)

Why are we so busy blaiming the Australians for the events in the Sydney test. If the umpires can't handle the presure of test cricket then get rid of them rather then blaiming the Australians for appealing aggressively. I also find it troubling that thte Australian tactics are being blasted by the Indians when their batsmen didn't all walk, and they tried obvious time wasting tactics such as bringing 2 right handed gloves out to bat. If India want to take the morral high ground they need their actions to be more consistant to their words. As for the ban of Harbajan, Why are we hanging Ponting for that? If anybody is low enough to revert to racism they should be banned. That goes for cricketers from India when they dish it out every bit as much as it did for Leahman and Gibbs when they made rasist remarks. By blaiming Ponting for the fall out is cowardly bowing down to threats made by the Indian management, and over zealous rioting fans. Stick to the real issues.

Posted by sanju747 on (January 8, 2008, 5:07 GMT)

I think Ponting should be penalized for his behaviour and ordered to attend classes on sportsmanship. In addition, Mr. Bucknor should also be given few months of rest so he can recover his strengths. Like players who do not play well and sent to prove themselves in domestic cricket, Mr Bucknor should also be sent to officiate in local cricket and prove he is still a good umpire before bringing him back to the highest level.

Posted by avnit on (January 8, 2008, 5:06 GMT)

Ponting is not a good sports person by the way he reacted on the field and to the media. He was more like a guy who wants to win the game by hook or crook. I was a great fan of Ponting before ,but this act of his and his team mates make me think they have no respect for the game. He was no way playing in spirit of the game.

Posted by ElricPuffin on (January 8, 2008, 5:05 GMT)

"Your team was very naughty and now India are very, very upset." India are upset because they lost. Australia may need lessons on winning gracefully but India could write a book on being sore losers. Personally, I think Australia has every right to be very, very upset with Indian racist taunts, gamesmanship, timewasting and open contempt for umpires' verdicts. Australia doesn't lose very often but they don't carry on like this when they do.

Posted by jimbo_q on (January 8, 2008, 5:02 GMT)

Being the captain of the Australian cricket team is a huge job. I don't think Ricky is getting the support from Cricket Australia that he needs. Are there no advisors within the ACB or Cricket Australia to help him through this situation? He is one figure in Australian society who can truly influence the international relations between Australia and India, as well as the rest of the cricket playing nations in the world. While there is no questioning his skills on the cricket field, his skills in diplomacy are obviously lacking. However, he should be getting more support in the form of advice on how to manage this sort of situation by the ACB or considering the Australian Opposition leader, Dr (of what) Brendon Nelson, is prepared to give his two cents worth to the media, then maybe he could provide some better diplomatic advice than "get off his [Ricky's] back".

Posted by LarryD on (January 8, 2008, 5:01 GMT)

Peter has hit the nail on its head. Ponting is behaving like a kid in denial. "I don't think there is much, if any, animosity between the players on both teams." Really? Does he understand the gravity of the situation? Just denying the existence of a problem won't make it go away. But a childish person wouldn't realize that, would he now? Grow up Ricky. You might have won a test match, but you have lost our respect.

Posted by MasterAniket on (January 8, 2008, 4:55 GMT)

I was always a strong supporter of ponting's greatness. I even used to think he comparable to Sachin in all aspects. Just used to think he is a bit arrogant at time, arguably due to Australian origin.He was always supposed to be fair to the core despite his arrogance.But things have changed. I just have lost the faith on this player whom I liked so much.He has shown that he will do literally anything to win. And as a cricket lover I want to see cricket as a winner. The great are always those who have fair talent and gentleman behavior. Ponting now only satisfies only the half of it.

Posted by jamrith on (January 8, 2008, 4:53 GMT)

It is obvious that for the senior members of the Australian team, i.e. Ponting,Hayden and Gilchrist, the winning streak and the desire to be called the best ever Aussie side has become so overwhelming that they are prepared to go to any lengths to achieve this. Unfortunately, the angelic looking Michael Clarke and the abrasive and jingoistic Andrew Symonds have also joined the seniors in this unholy quest. To put matters in perspective, i should mention that I happened to be in the same hotel elevator with Symonds in Colombo a few years ago and when I greeted him, he scowled at me as though it was grossly impertinent of me to speak to him--- not a very nice man; and, by the way, I am darker than he is before anyone starts to wave the hypocritical racist flag !!

Posted by denebarry on (January 8, 2008, 4:52 GMT)

I'm not sure where Ricky made an error. 1. When he had doubts about the validity of his catch off Dravid in the first innings he said 'no catch' 2. When Michael Clarke said he was 100% sure he caught Ganguly Ricky informed the umpires as per the agreement both captains made prior to the series. 3. When Harbhajan called Symmons a monkey he was obliged to report it to the umpires as per the directive to all captins from the ICC. 4. The after match celebrations were no different to any other. 5. Ricky never mentioned the wrong LBW decision he got in the first innings.

Posted by anuritu on (January 8, 2008, 4:52 GMT)

I have some questions for Cricket Australia, Ricky's eleven, and the australian fan. 1)Does Ricky Ponting's team wish to be known as World Champion cricket team on the basis of weak umpiring? 2)Are they so unsure of their own talent and capabilites, that they need to claim "grounded balls" as "catches" to win a Test Match? 3)Are "mind games" deserve to be part this game of gentlemen? 4)Or is the game of cricket to be always played for the spirit of the game, and not merely for winning?

Indians are displaying their weakness at this game while playing abroad. But they need to be given opportunity of fair play. In the current situation, Australia's much deserved wins are losing their shine.

Posted by prydey on (January 8, 2008, 4:49 GMT)

I for one fail to see how Ricky has done anything wrong. Racism in any sport is not acceptable and it was agreed before the game by both captains that any incidents of that nature on the feild should be reported to the match referee. should the australians also not appeal anymore. if you don't ask you don't get and most appeals were justified within the laws of the game. the desire to win is something lacking in many, if not all other cricket nations and yet the aussies get crucified for it because they dared to upset a coloured nation. if the roles were reversed this would be a much bigger issue.

Posted by Eclipse on (January 8, 2008, 4:44 GMT)

The thing that i am angry about the most is the catch which Clarke claimed for the Ganguly dismissal, in my opinion the ball bounced into Clarke's hands and should have been given not out.

But to see Ponting holding his finger up like he was giving the batsman out was sickening.

Posted by Sherminators on (January 8, 2008, 4:42 GMT)

I can't see why Ponting is being castagated and why every journo has sided with India. Ponting is far from the top of the list of people who should defend their actions.

Harbhajan should not have received a suspension since there was no video, audio or umpire evidence that he said the (alleged) comment. But I also believe Punter did the right thing in reporting it. After all, it was Harbhajan himself who promised not to use the term again. Harbhajan should have received a warning and told that any future use of the term if captured by audio, video or umpires ear would result in the 3 match ban.

As for the umpiring, quit whinging. Laxman & Tendulkar both survived very close LBW shouts early in their century innings - thats the way the cookie crumbles. If either were given, would India have had the lead they did?

Also, the BCCI should stop complaining about umpiring decisions that cannot be changed, all they will accomplish is knocking a huge chip off the umpires shoulder.

Posted by Kingfish_Oz on (January 8, 2008, 4:42 GMT)

It's interesting that Peter is blaming Ponting for Harbhajan being banned, when in fact it was agreed prior to the series any remarks would be frown upon. Second, do we remember the continual denial of the BCCI when Symonds was abused in Indian. The BCCI said put up or shut up, The Aussies did and now they cry foul, that it should have been settled between the captains. Australians play every sport hard, we are a sporting nation, something that is bred not created. Sure Ponting made some mistakes, but don't try and destroy the man who is a great captain and great batsman. When India was aggressive in Indian, it was good for the game. Now when the heat is amplified away from home, it is bad for the game. Seems to me the Indians can give it but fail to take it.

Posted by whits106 on (January 8, 2008, 4:42 GMT)

Mr English, Once again you have written this story and told it how it is, and I applaud you. I am Australian, and I have not supported the Australian cricket team for some time due the many reasons which have become blatantly obvious to everyone finally. It's what i've been telling people for years. Ricky Ponting is following the old cliche "ignorance is bliss" and this proves it. The only reason he has never "run to the umpires" before is because no team has ever stood up to them, and thrown back at them what they have done for years. Untill now, and they don't like it. Aww, poor you Ricky, I have no sympathy for you or any of the team.

Posted by obstreperous on (January 8, 2008, 4:41 GMT)

Peter English has produced some rubbish journalism on the Sydney Test and his opinion piece today is no exception. It seems to me that the only thing the Australians did wrong was to win the match. If they had lost or drawn the game, the bad umpiring decisions would have been endured, Kumble wouldn't have accused Australia of failing to play in the spirit of the game, cricket writers like English and Peter Roebuck would not have called for Ponting's sacking and the Indian Board wouldn't have threatened to cancel the tour. That said, I feel the 3-match suspension against Harbhajan Singh was excessive and should be reduced on appeal. The bloke is an irritating jerk for sure but I find it hard to accept that his alleged comments could amount to anything more than an exceedingly minor transgression of the rules governing on-field behaviour.

Posted by lotusgold on (January 8, 2008, 4:40 GMT)

I agree totally. Yesterday while talking to Channel 9, Ponting was telling that apart from "this little incident" both the teams played in good spirit and that the relationship was good. He showed his childidh behaviour in saying that the Singh-Symmonds affair is a little incident.

Why did he take up this affair to the umpires instead of taking it to Anil Kumble when they have already made a pact with regard to close catches - and in fact he implemented that to his advantage for the Clarke catch off Ganguly by lifting his finger up and that poor Benson agreed rather than referring to the third umpire.

The only solution out of this mess should be to ban sledging and on the field mutterings (even)while play is on. I think many of the other nations will be able to perform better against the mighty but arrogant Aussies.

Posted by Royda on (January 8, 2008, 4:40 GMT)

Yes indeed he is not serious of the whole situation created by his team which would eventually bring down their reputation. What is the use of becoming world no.1 when the masses start hating your bunch of boys. I am of the view that Ponting should be relegated from captainship but continue as a player.

Posted by grandmother on (January 8, 2008, 4:37 GMT)

i really think Ricky has got it wrong this time and the 2nd test left a lot of us aussies with a sour taste in our mouths yes they are good players but the arrogance and certain attitudes leave a lot to be desired and i actually hoped that India would win. I like to see good cricket and enjoy a close match. This is not the first time that umpires seem note i say SEEM to favour Australia. I hope the test continues our boys show a better spirit and learn from this. and let us see good cricket I also think the UMPIRES SHOULD BE CHANGED> Thank you

Posted by QUDSI on (January 8, 2008, 4:33 GMT)

i dont think Ponting is doing anything wrong. He is playing with the passion and playing with the winning attuitude, but on the other hand India is not showing the right spirit as far as winning is concern.Ponting does't need to aware of the situation. it does't affect him at all. His main goal is to defeat everysingle team whoever visit thier country, wheather its is India, SouthAfrica or Pakistan.

Posted by Gavin1965 on (January 8, 2008, 4:32 GMT)

I completely agree, Peter. As an Australian supporter, I was particularly disappointed by the post-match celebrations in which the Australians all but ignored their vanquished opponents - especially Anil Kumble, who still attempted to congratulate some of them. Very poor sportsmanship on the Australians' part. Is it possible to be the captain of a highly successful sports team and still be a gracious winner? I've always thought it is.

Posted by faisalj on (January 8, 2008, 4:27 GMT)

I think the pressure of being Australia's most successful captain got to Ponting in the end. Yes till a certain point in the match the Australian captain did show that he was using all faculties provided to him by nature. Sadly however the mind went into malfunction rather suddenly and drastically. For anyone with an iota of intelligence it would be clear that all is not well when during and after the match the main questions asked of you are about sportsman spirit, the spirit of the game and honesty. So Ponting is really in need of private tuitions. Cant he see the reaction in India? There are riots on the street. Its not like India has never lost before, its the way the match was (mis)conducted and the way that the Australians conducted themsleves led by Ponting that has caused such consternation. But to make matters worse the ICC can be depended upon to make some foolish decisions and insist on being pig headed about retaining controversial officials. God save the game!

Posted by Grumbletas on (January 8, 2008, 4:26 GMT)

there are always two sides to any dispute and I think your biased articles, Peter English are stuff and nonsense.

I expect that there is fault on both sides, I have no doubt that the Australians have said things that were untoward and that Mr H Singh called Symmons a monkey. Also the storm that has been raised may well be a smoke screen to tuen the anger at home away from the Indian team.

I agree with Hasha Boghle, all offensive sledging must be erased from the game and umpires must act decisively and report any one who does it. The stum mircophones need to be recorded and checked by the match referee kike the review panel in the AFL.

The main cause of the angst was the unacceptable amount of incorrect decisions as that creates the tension and frustration. Nobody can deny that India got the rough end of the umpiring but Australia got some bad ones as well.

It's time that all the elite panel is made available for selection in tests, regardless of country of origin.

Posted by satishgv on (January 8, 2008, 4:23 GMT)

no, ponting is aware of all those situations but he is fond of only winning the game. so, he is using his critical mind inorder to just win the game.

Posted by stormy on (January 8, 2008, 4:21 GMT)

Really well said, Peter. Ponting is devaluing the post of Captain of the Australian Cricket team. This will probably get me flamed, but am I the only one that finds it bizarre that he (repeatedly) cant make the effort to shave before facing the TV media (and I dont mean immediately post game)- his position demands a bit more. I wonder if that attitude says something about the man.

Do you think that Ricky Ponting isn't aware of the seriousness of the situtation?
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