Australian behaviour has improved: Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar has defended Ricky Ponting, who was found guilty of dissent and fined 25% of his match fees during the second Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong.

Ponting was found guilty of breaching clause 1.3 of the ICC Code which relates to "Showing dissent at an umpire's decision by action or verbal abuse" after Bangladesh lodged a complaint following the dismissal of Aftab Ahmed.

"I don't think there is any problem with Ricky at all," Gavaskar, the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, told The Age. "What happened on the first day was just one of those things. We have to remember - and I am not making excuses - that the Australians have had a long season and they have travelled a bit.

"They're at the end of a season, they have been going for three or four months and the conditions, hot and humid, did not help. But I think Ponting is well aware of his responsibilities as captain. I personally don't find a problem with him. I think generally if there was a problem with Ponting, that would have come to the notice of the ICC earlier."

Three years ago, Gavaskar had said that he was concerned about the impact Australia's behaviour and sledging would have, but now he feels that their behaviour has greatly improved after Cricket Australia implemented its spirit of cricket guidelines.

"I think they're really much better than they were about four, five years ago. I think the Australians play their cricket hard and occasionally they go a bit over the top but their general behaviour has improved," said Gavaskar. "I don't think there's any reason to worry about the Australian team. They have improved since Cricket Australia implemented the spirit of cricket and they are much more aware of what is acceptable.

"In a competitive situation, we will always get the odd incident; I think that's part of the game. I really don't think it's anything to be too worried about. Every team has one or two players who are more competitive and excitable but so long as they are aware there is a line that can't be crossed I think cricket will be all right."