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Ricky Ponting said it was "high and mighty" of Sunil Gavaskar to complain about poor on-field behaviour as Australia's captain questioned his role in India's lack of recent Test success. Gavaskar said this week Australia's recent losses to England and New Zealand had "gladdened the hearts" of the game's followers.
"There is not the slightest doubt that in the last decade or so the Aussies have been awesome in batting, bowling and fielding, which has taken them to the top of the cricketing ladder," Gavaskar, who regularly highlights Australia's poor behaviour, wrote in India Today, a national weekly. "But they have also been awful in the way they have sometimes behaved on the field much to the chagrin of the traditional fans of the game."
Ponting, who will lead Australia in their opening World Cup game against Scotland on Wednesday, said teams that dominated for a long period did not have too many supporters and then targeted Gavaskar. "We all know the way he played his cricket, don't we?," Ponting said in The Australian. "If he is talking about us, what about the way India have played their cricket over the last few years?"
India won three of 12 Tests last year while Australia were successful in their ten games. "I know who I would rather be going to watch," Ponting told the paper. "Have a look at how many Test matches they have won. He [Gavaskar] has been a big part of that, he has been a selector and he has been on the coaching committee. They might want to start to look at the way they play their own cricket rather than looking at us."
Ponting admitted he had been reported "more than anybody" since becoming captain - he was found guilty of dissent twice in 2006 - but returned to Gavaskar and recalled his attempted walk-off at the MCG in 1980-81. "Given out lbw to Lillee, Gavaskar indicated that he had edged the ball on to his pad, and was so enraged that he wanted to forfeit the match, ordering his partner, Chauhan, to walk off with him," the Almanack reported. India's manager stopped Chetan Chauhan from leaving the field.
"For him to go on about behaviour, not too many captains have dragged their teams off the field, either," Ponting said. "I don't mind if 'Mr Perfect' comes out and goes on about our team, I know we are all not perfect. We are not going to keep everyone happy 100% of the time. But for some of these guys that have done it all themselves, it's pretty high and mighty for them to say that."