Ponting seek to heal old wounds

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 13:27 [IST]
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PontingHyderabad: In a move to improve relations between India and Australia after acrimonious controversies in Sydney, Ricky Ponting said his team is ready to play with Kumble's side in a friendly spirit and end the bad blood.

Ponting said yesterday it was his responsibility to ensure there was no repeat of the hostilities in Australia last summer that almost prompted the Indians to head home.

The Australian captain will meet Indian counterpart Anil Kumble and the match referee to thrash out how the teams should deal with each other when the series begins on October 9.

''I think the way things panned out last summer in Australia - in the middle of the series before the third Test - we actually got together then, Anil and I, and spoke a lot about the way we should play the remaining couple of Test matches, and how much responsibility it is to the captains to make sure that happens,'' Ponting said.

''Nothing has changed since then. We know there will be a lot made in this series, in the media in particular, about the apparent ongoing tension between the two sides.

''But even as I said through last summer, I don't think the actual tensions between the two teams was probably as high as what they were made out to be.'' Poor umpiring and the spat between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds were to blame for the crisis that forced ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed to intervene.

But with a suspended Symonds not on this tour, officials hope a friendly but competitive spirit can be built between the game's two most powerful countries.

Australia is vulnerable now as their several players have retired, but Ponting said his new-look squad wanted to create its own history.

''I think even over the last 12 or 18 months when we have been missing some of the more experienced players, we have still managed to show that our best cricket is still good enough to beat anybody,'' he said.

Leg-spinner Bryce McGain was expected to test his sore shoulder in the nets last night, but the Victorian said he expected to be fit for the four-day clash against the Board XI that starts tomorrow.


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