Ricky Ponting has drawn the ire of Indian cricket fans just one game into the World Cup campaign after damaging an LCD television in an apparent post-innings tantrum
The Australia captain was forced to issue a public apology yesterday, a day after he was run out by a direct throw from Zimbabwean Chris Mpofu from the boundary as he attempted to return for a second run.
Initial reports suggested the furious captain swung his bat at a flatscreen television after watching a replay of his dismissal in the dressing room.
But Gujarat Cricket Association secretary Rajesh Patel told The Australian yesterday a club staffer present at the time of the incident reported the damage was done after Ponting threw his gloves at the screen in frustration.
Patel said he was disappointed by the captain’s behaviour and intended to lodge a formal complaint over the incident to the Board of Control for Cricket India.
“We will complain to the BCCI this afternoon that this thing has happened and we will send a photo of the TV also,” Patel said. “It was an expensive LCD television and it has really been damaged.
“I can’t say what might happen in this matter. The ICC will do what they want to do but I am very disappointed because nothing like this has happened with the Australian team before.
“Ricky Ponting is the team captain and it’s not good for the Australian team for the captain to behave this way.”
The incident will not enhance Ponting’s reputation on the subcontinent as he is the Australian that Indian audiences love to hate.
In the absence of any solid cricket news, Indian television channels were making a meal of the story yesterday with headlines such as “Grow Up Ricky” and “Punter Does It Again”.
Former South Africa star Barry Richards also criticised Ponting’s behaviour, describing it as “completely unacceptable”.
Cricket Australia spokesman Lachy Patterson said the incident had been blown way out of proportion and he was not aware of any plans for the GCA to take the matter further.
“He did not smash a television screen. All he has done is thrown a box. It has hit a wall, bounced onto the back of the television which affected the vision on the TV,” Patterson said.
“He apologised immediately for it, spoke to the team manager and that’s where the issue finished.”
Australia won its first World Cup match against minnow Zimbabwe by 91 runs and in a post-match press conference Ponting hailed his team’s performance as solid. But he was one of several batsmen to make a start without going on with the job. Several others fell to spin bowling.
However, Ponting is optimistic his batsmen will solve the spin puzzle ahead of bigger matches in a quest for winning a fourth successive World Cup.
“I think the more we play and the more we get accustomed to these conditions, the better our performance will be against spin,” Ponting said.
“We know that spin factor will be a big one in this tournament.”
In-form opener Shane Watson (79) and Michael Clarke (58 not out) hit impressive half-centuries to guide Australia to 2-262 but most of the batsmen struggled to score freely against Zimbabwe’s slow bowlers.