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Gavaskar was no angel in his playing days, says Ponting

Last updated on: November 19, 2008 20:02 IST

Ricky Ponting has lashed out at legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar and other former players for often blaming the Australian team for on-field confrontations, saying the Indian opener was not an angel during his playing days.

"I know that over the past 10 years, probably longer, a notion has developed that the Australian team walks out onto the field intent on getting in faces and having a few words... Unfortunately, as soon as a spectator or a commentator spots one of my team chipping an opponent, they assume it is a pre-meditated attack," Ponting said.

"The most laughable aspect is when I hear former players complaining, as though they never put a toe out of line in their day.

"I still have a vivid image of Sunil Gavaskar angrily trying to take his opening partner off the MCG with him in 1981 when he was given out lbw in a Test match, but to hear him today you'd think he was positively angelic when he was the best opening batsman in the world," he wrote in his Captain's Diary 2008.

Ponting said he was disappointed by the hypocrisy of former cricketers who never kept the standards in their hey-days, but were demanding the same from his team.

"In the four or five days after the Sydney Test... inevitably, some ex-players -- mostly the usual suspects -- were into us, and I found their hypocrisy extremely disappointing. They were demanding standards from us that they had never kept themselves when they were Test stars.

"The classic came when Tony Greig suggested that the batsmen of today should be walking to make it easier for the umpires. This was coming from a bloke who in his day made a virtue out of not walking.

"I always presumed that ex-players are employed by media outlets because their experience gives them a rare insight into the pressure elite cricketers are under and the way we think, but it seems to me that many of them forget about their past lives the minute they are handed a press pass.

Ponting also took a dig at just-retired Indian captain Anil Kumble, saying his comment 'only one team was playing within the spirit of the game' after the Sydney Test was borrowed from a former Australian skipper Bill Woodfull.

"I'm not sure how extensive Anil's knowledge of cricket history is, but -- as was picked up immediately by reporters -- his comments echoed those made by Australian captain Bill Woodfull during the acrimonious bodyline series of 1932-33.

" 'There are two teams out there, one is trying to play cricket and the other is not', Woodfull had said to English managers during the third Test of that series," he said.

Natasha Chaku
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