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Nothing wrong with Ponting~~s behaviour: Gavaskar

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney:After being extremely critical of their bullying tactics in the past, Sunil Gavaskar said he is finally seeing some improvement in the on-field behaviour of the Australian team and came out in defence of skipper Ricky Ponting, who was fined for showing dissent towards umpires in the first Test against Bangladesh.

Gavaskar said he was pretty satisfied with the way the World Champions have conducted themselves in the recent past.

''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,'' Gavaskar was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.

''I don't think there is any problem with Ricky at all. What happened on the first day was just one of those things,'' he added, reffering to the incident when Ponting's intervention led to the reversal of the third umpire's decision in favour of the Aussies.

Gavaskar felt the Australians have been through a hard cricket season under trying conditions and they might be excused for small incidents here and there. He said he did not find anything wrong with Ponting's behaviour, who ''is well aware of his responsibilities as captain.'' ''We have to remember -- and I am not making excuses -- that the Australians have had a long season and they have travelled a bit,'' he said, attributing the behaviour to a long season.

''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. I personally don't find a problem with him (Ponting),'' he said.

The Chairman of the ICC's cricket committee said the credit for the Aussies' improved behaviour must go to their board Cricket Australia, which according to him, has implemented strict rules to check their on-field actions.

''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,'' he pointed out. Gavaskar said occasional incidents will happen as they are a part of the game but he said there was nothing to be overtly worried about.

''In a competitive situation, we will always get the odd incident; I think that's part of the game. 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,'' he said.

Ponting complained about the dismissal of Bangladesh batsman Aftab Ahmed, who was given not out by the third umpire after TV replays proved inconclusive. His dissent led to the reversal of the decision, which was objected to by the hosts, who filed a complaint leading to the disciplinary action against the Aussie captain.

Meanwhile, apart from Gavaskar, Ponting also found support from former captain and compatriot Tony Greig, who said there was nothing wrong in a captain asking for the review of an umpiring decision.

''The captain is the only guy allowed to go up and ask questions and they are getting frustrated,'' Greig was quoted by the Herald Sun as saying.

''When they make mistakes that are exposed by technology, I really think there's a serious case for the match referee to reverse something that's clearly wrong,'' he added.

However, Ponting's former teammate Mark Waugh was not so impressed with his actions and said the current captain should have been more restrained in his approach.

''You are not allowed to show dissent towards the umpires,'' Waugh told Fox Sports.

''Ricky probably did jump a little bit overboard. Just looking at his actions they were probably too aggressive,'' Waugh said but added, ''Ricky was justified in complaining about the decision.''

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