Adelaide: Australian coach Tim Nielsen on Monday defended Ricky Ponting after the Aussie skipper was seen hurling verbal volleys at Harbhajan Singh in Sunday's CB tri-series tie and admitted the Punter's poor form is a big concern for the team.
Ponting, who has been Harbhajan's bunny in the Test series against India, could not hide his glee after his nemesis was out in Sunday's match which the hosts won by 50 runs.
Punter appeared to say something to Bhajji as the Indian left the crease but his coach felt there was not much to make out of it.
"It's been a long summer and there is a bit of feeling between the sides. But it's not different to what has always happened in the 100 years of the game.
"Only because it's between India and Australia, Harbhajan and Ponting and those sort of things and people notice it more," he said.
"I don't think it isn't there in the games against Sri Lanka but they are not noticed as much," Nielsen added.
He, however, admitted that the top-order was not firing on all cylinders and the captain has not been at his best, to say the least.
"Ricky has set such high standards over the last four or five years that everyone wants to see a bit more on the screen," he said.
"He's not having the season he would like. He hit the ball pretty hard but straight to point. He is showing good form in the nets but is under pressure for not contributing as he would like to," Nielsen added.