13 November, 2008

Ponting gets backing from CA boss in over-rate row

MELBOURNE: In a change of stance, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has backed under-fire captain Ricky Ponting who was accused
of putting self interest before that of his team during the final Test against India in Nagpur.

Sutherland had earlier said he would seek explanation from Ponting for using part-timers ahead of strike bowlers when India were in deep trouble on the fourth afternoon of the fourth Test. Ponting was accused of trying to avoid one-match suspension for slow over-rate.

But, speaking at the launch of Ponting's 'Captain's Diary 2008' in Sydney, CA chief executive Sutherland backed Ponting's decision to bowl spinners and part-timers in a bid to reel back a slow over rate when wickets were needed to salvage the series.

"His batting speaks for itself, but given the events of this week perhaps some need reminding that he is already a cricketing great," Sutherland said.

"He is a player that has always put the team first and he has never measured success by personal statistics," Sutherland was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

"Any suggestion that he put himself ahead of the team last week in Nagpur is completely off beam and can only come from someone who does not know or understand him," he added.

Matthew Hayden has also launched a stirring defence of Ponting and predicted rival nations would pay for the criticism his captain has copped.

The veteran opener warned that Ponting would respond with his bat and leadership.

"I think we all know that Ricky Ponting is an absolute bloody champion and is one right across the globe during the entire reign of his captaincy," Hayden said.
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