Support for Ponting on the decline

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Polls in Australia show that the public does not support his 'we play hard but fair' theory. The Australian captain is fast losing support.

Updated: January 11, 2008 16:35 IST
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He is the captain of the world's best cricket team but Ricky Ponting now finds himself being branded as one of the biggest villains of the game.

Polls in Australia show that the public does not support his 'we play hard but fair' theory.

The Indian fan, who kissed Ponting in Bangalore, might have been his big fan, but clearly the Australian captain is now losing support faster than a sinking ship loses its rats.

Peter Roebuck's article calling for Punter to be sacked made headlines the world over and started a wave of polls in Australia. And the results were not at all flattering, a majority said that they did not approve of Ponting's behaviour.

"If you are questioning my integrity then you should not be here," said Ricky Ponting in response to an Indian journalist asking him how he could have claimed this catch when in fact, it had been clearly grounded.

However, the Australian captain and his teammates had a ready reply. This man is honest because earlier in the Sydney game he had himself said that he had not taken this catch cleanly of Rahul Dravid.

The selective honesty was further put to the test when Ponting played umpire and happily ruled that Michael Clarke had cleanly caught Sourav Ganguly in the second innings. Television replays of course, showed otherwise.

However, this did not seem to be a one off with Ponting. Clearly, it's an image that has taken a beating over the years with several incidents like this one.

The team did not escape the criticism either, Ponting and his team sparked off a huge crisis when they pushed BCCI president Sharad Pawar off the stage after winning the Champions Trophy in India. No wonder then, that the world champion team does not have too many admirers in world cricket.

"I did not see any Australian congratulating Sachin on his 100," said former cricket player Sunil Gavaskar.

The baggy greens have had others turn on them as well. This was Ponting interrupting a Michael Clarke interview with ESPN supposedly to tell Tony Greig that they had not got the declaration wrong in the Sydney Test.

Maybe Cricket Australia was the one who got it wrong. They made Ricky Ponting the captain despite the problems he had with alcohol and aggressive behaviour in the early part of his career.

There was at least two incidents of pub brawls, one of which led to him being suspended in 1999.

Ricky Ponting may be the best batsman in the world in Tests and one dayers and has the potential to break Sachin Tendulkar's record for most Test 100s, but he certainly won't be as loved or respected.

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  • Cricket
  • Gregory Stephen Chappell

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