Canberra, Dec 14: Embattled Ricky Ponting received support from an unexpected quarter in the form of Harbhajan Singh who said it is a big mistake to write off the former Aussie skipper.
The out-of-favour Indian off-spinner, who had plenty of fiery exchanges with Ponting over the years, especially after the "Monkeygate" scandal in the 2008 Sydney Test, surprisingly put his weight behind the Australian and asked him to defy his growing band of critics.
"I do not think Ponting is finished and I think people are making a big mistake by writing him off," he said.
"Two years ago, people were saying the same things about Rahul Dravid (who averages 60 from 11 Tests this year) as what they are saying about Ponting now. Look what Dravid has done, he is a great player who has found his greatness again. I am sure Ponting will do the same," Harbhajan, who has dismissed Ponting more number of times than anyone else, added.
The 31-year-old spinner also said that cricketers of Pontings stature should be given due respect.
"Guys like Ponting, Dravid and (Sachin) Tendulkar know what they are doing and people should stop questioning them.They should respect them for what they have done for the game and they should respect them if they think they can bat on and contribute to cricket."
"The fans in Australia should not put pressure on Ponting, they should just accept he has been given a chance to keep playing and they should get right behind him and support him. Ponting is only one innings away from finding his top form," insisted the bowler.
Harbhajan, who has been left out of the touring Indian Test squad, predicted that India would dominate in the four-Test series against Australia, starting on December 26.
"This Australian side is a lot weaker than sides of the past. There is no Adam Gilchrist or Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath. India have definitely got a very good chance to beat them on their home soil. I dont want to predict a scoreline but I am sure India will do very well," he said.