Flower hits back Ponting on time-wasting allegation

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricenglogo.jpg' class='caption'> Eng coach Andy Flower has criticised Ponting for &quot;making a meal&quot; of the alleged time-wasting tactics on the last day of the first Ashes Test in Cardif

Updated: July 15, 2009 06:58 IST
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England coach Andy Flower has criticised Australian skipper Ricky Ponting for "making a meal" of the alleged time-wasting tactics on the last day of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff and reiterated that the hosts played the game in the right spirit.

Ponting had alleged that England employed time-wasting methods by sending the 12th man, Bilal Shafayat twice in the final two overs when James Anderson and Monty Panesar were battling to salvage a draw.

"We've got a very good record as a side and we play the game the right way. We've twice won the ICC fair play award.

So I would say let's keep it all in perspective and not deflect attention from a very good rearguard action. That was a good battle out there and I don't like the sort of attention that has been paid to this," Flower said.

"There was a slight incident at the end of that game but in the main that game was played in good spirit. The batsmen weren't wasting time. I can tell you that the guys were in such a focused state that there was no way we were going to try and distract them from that job.

"Ricky's got his own opinion and I respect his opinions.

He's a very good cricketer and he's been a very good ambassador for Australia. But in this instance I think he's made a meal of it," he said.

Flower said there were some confusion regarding the time and so the team management needed to pass on some information to the batsmen in the middle.

"I was sitting there watching the game. Never did we consciously try to waste time. Most teams in those situations ... you would have batsmen talking in the middle, knocking down the pitch, changing gloves, getting drinks ... and at no stage in those couple of hours did we do that," Flower was quoted as saying in the Guardian.

"The second point I would make was that there was confusion towards the end, or perceived confusion out in the middle, about what time the game was going to end. We needed to get messages out to them to make sure that they were clear.

"We had an incident in the West Indies recently where confusion over something technical led to an international loss on the West Indies side (when coach John Dyson miscalculated a one-day target under the Duckworth-Lewis rules) and we didn't want that to happen," Flower said.

"We haven't got walkie-talkies to those guys out there.

And the only way to communicate is to send people out. We did that right at the end. Right at the end," he added.

Flower also defended Kevin Pietersen for his premeditated sweep shot which eventually cost him his wicket.

"He must have made some (good decisions) because he made 69 in the first dig. I don't think you can just isolate him.

"I know he's the most high-profile guy. Like any other batsman he will review his game and review the decisions he made. He will regret that he got out. He's playing for England, he's very proud to play for England. He's trying to do his best. He's trying to win games for us," the former Zimbabwe wicket-keeper batsman said.

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