Ponting offers apology over podium episode

Published: Wednesday, November 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting offered to apologise to any Indian officials who felt insulted by his team's victory celebrations after the Champions Trophy final this week.

Ponting said the Australians intended no offence and admitted the flak they had received for allegedly manhandling Indian cricket chief Sharad Pawar off the presentation stage had marred their first successful Champions Trophy campaign.

"It probably has had a little bit of the gloss taken off, but I'll be doing the best I can to get my point across to the concerned people in India and let them know we were not trying to embarrass them or anything like that," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"We were all pretty keen to get our hands on the trophy and celebrate accordingly."

Indian cricket stars Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar criticised the Australians' behaviour after the eight-wicket win over the West Indies in Sunday's final in Mumbai.

Ponting, visibly impatient after the long presentation ceremony, gestured towards Pawar with his forefinger, asking him to quickly give away the trophy which Australia had won for the first time in five attempts.

"I was standing just behind the guy waiting to be presented with the trophy and it wasn't coming my way so I reached around to accept the trophy from him," he said.

Indian newspapers displayed pictures of Australian batsman Damien Martyn pushing Pawar with his right hand, urging him to get off the stage so the team could pose with the trophy.

Ponting said he was aware the Australian cricketers were representing their country and promised they would be more aware of protocol in future.

The Australian captain said he was willing to apologise to Pawar.

"If we all feel that it's relevant then I'll certainly do that," he said.

"I'll decide once I've spoken to him (Pawar) and got a bit of an idea about how he's taken the whole thing, and not just listen to what's been said by the Indian journalists and what a fuss they're making of it."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland attributed the Australians' antics to exuberance at winning the only major trophy that had eluded them, and said no slight was intended.

"Perhaps sometimes these things can happen between different cultures," he said.

The Australian cricket chief said he would speak with Martyn about the incident.

Asked if any Australian players deserved a reprimand, Sutherland said he wanted to examine the circumstances of the presentation.


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