Melbourne, January 9: The ICC has urged Cricket Australia to reign in Ricky Ponting's men in the light of all-round criticism of their on-field behaviour during the ill-tempered second Test against India. ICC CEO Malcolm Speed said CA needs to take notice of the criticism being directed at its team by the public, former players and commentators.
"The team is being criticised, members of the team are being criticised and they need to to be aware of that -- they need to respond to that," Speed was quoted saying in the 'Herald Sun'. "All national teams should play cricket in the right spirit. We need to be clear what that means," he said.
Speed said he was relieved that the replacement of umpire Steve Bucknor prevented an international crisis. "We could have gone in banging the table and playing who blinks first', we could have turned what is already an international incident into an international crisis." "What we have elected to do, and we have given some serious thought about this, is to take one of the issues out of play," he said.
Speed said the Sydney Test was played in an atmosphere riddled by racism claims, player behaviour issues and umpiring controversy, but expressed confidence that after Bucknor's replacement and roping in of Ranjan Madugalle to work with the two captains, the unprecedented crisis would tide over.
"There was unhappiness about the umpiring, we put a new umpiring team in place. And we start again from the umpiring perspective in Perth and, hopefully, focus on the matters on the pitch rather than exacerbating the crisis," he said.