Monday 12 March 2007 

Ponting Hits Back At Gavaskar Comments

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has hit back at comments by former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar that the world champions were an unpopular and badly-behaved team.

Gavaskar wrote in an Indian newspaper column last week that Australia had been an "awesome" team over the last decade but were "awful in the way they have sometimes behaved on the field."

Ponting responded by citing Gavaskar's own brush with major controversy in a test match against the Australians in Melbourne in 1981 when he was given out to a contentious umpiring decision.
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Gavaskar ordered his opening partner Chetan Chauhan to walk off the pitch with him in protest.

"For him to go on about behaviour, not too many captains have dragged their teams off the field," Ponting told Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Monday.

"We are not going to keep everyone happy 100 percent 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."

Ponting said Australia's unpopularity was a natural response to their success rather than their behaviour, and suggested Gavaskar should focus on trying to improve India's record in international cricket rather than criticising Australia.

"If you are really dominating teams for a long period of time, I don't think you end up having too many supporters around the place," Ponting said.

"They might want to start to look at the way they play their own cricket rather than looking at us."

© Reuters 2007