Ricky Ponting feels some of India's cricketers have "misinterpreted what aggressive cricket means" during the ongoing one-day series. His comments come in the wake of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's revelations about Australia's cricketers using "harsh words" in the third one-dayer in Hyderabad.
"Both teams can still play aggressively, but when the Australian team speaks about playing aggressively I think a lot of people get the wrong idea," Ponting wrote in his column for the Australian newspaper.
"I don't mean talking aggressively or showing aggressive body language. That's exactly the opposite of what aggressive or positive cricket is all about. A few of the Indians have reacted very much with aggressive body language and trying to force themselves upon us, and I think the way some of them are playing their cricket that they have also misinterpreted what aggressive cricket means.
"I suppose if some of the players don't understand it, a lot of people watching the game in the stands or at home don't understand it either. It's not jumping up and down, sledging, giving people send-offs and that sort of stuff. When the Australian team talks about playing aggressively, we are committing ourselves to playing hard: there's nothing given and there's nothing asked to be given."
Though the Hyderabad game was hardly as hot tempered as the match at Kochi, Dhoni, had enough to complain about. "We discussed with the referee about not using harsh words, but Ponting did, and a couple of their players did," Dhoni said after the game. He didn't reveal what exactly was said by the players, though.
Ponting felt his team had stayed within the confines of the spirit of cricket. "Some years back the Australian team committed itself to uphold the spirit of cricket," he said. "A lot of the current players weren't involved, but every player who comes into the team is clearly briefed on the idea and given direction on what's acceptable and what's not. We treat it very seriously and nobody comes in without understanding what we expect. I think it's been a very positive thing if you look back at our recent history. It's something I'm proud of. I think we have been one of the least reported teams in the world."
Ponting felt his side didn't indulge in sledging, a term he said was associated with "swearing" or "making a personal attack" on the opponents. "If you look at any sport, Australian football, soccer, anything, there is always some sort of dialogue between players, and I think that's part of sport at the highest level. But it's very important that every Australian cricketer understands what he can and cannot do. It is why we have the spirit of cricket concept. It was brought in so we would not have our blokes reported. We have our own set of rules that we can act on to keep things from getting out of hand."