Fletcher~~s book reveals Aussies hypocrisy

Published: Sunday, October 23, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Matthew Hayden said today that England coach Duncan Fletcher had waited until Ricky Ponting was on the other side of the world before firing his salvo at the Australia captain.

Hayden said he was yet to see the details of Fletcher's attack on Ponting and the Australian players, in which he accused them of verbal abuse, physical intimidation and hypocrisy during England's Ashes victory.

In his book The Coach's Story, to be released next week, Fletcher said Australia had been guilty of flouting the spirit of the game during the recent Ashes series, and that Ponting and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist had confronted umpires with "overbearing body language". Fletcher also said Ponting "blew his top" when the coach smiled at the Australian after he was run out in the fourth Test by Gary Pratt, a crack substitute fielder.

"He's a long, long way away isn't he," Hayden said when Fletcher's comments were relayed to him at the Gabba today, as he was preparing to play for Queensland against Tasmania in an ING Cup game tomorrow. "He's 22 hours flight away isn't he.

"We won't play them for another 18 months and the Australian captain will still be Ricky Ponting, and he's going to have a few more titles under his belt than England I would have thought." Ponting did not arrive with the Tasmania team this morning.

He is expected to fly into Brisbane later in the day. But Fletcher's criticism of his leadership continues the ill-feeling generated by one of the most exciting and closely contested Ashes series in history.

The England coach's latest accusation was that Ponting had abused Trent Bridge groundsman Steve Birk of producing an anti-spin strip for the Test.

"We have it on good authority that the groundsman was verbally abused by some of the Australian players," Fletcher said.

Hayden said his first appearance for the Bulls in a one-day game for several years was the start of a campaign to reclaim his place in Australia's limited-overs side.

"I'm not finished playing one-day cricket," he said.

Bulls skipper Jimmy Maher will eclipse former captain Stuart Law's record for the most one-day games for Queensland when he makes his 86th appearance tomorrow.

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