Australia captain Ricky Ponting said it was his box, employed to protect a batsman’s most sensitive area, and not his bat which damaged a World Cup dressing room television set. Ponting accepted an International Cricket Council reprimand after he reacted angrily to being run out in his team’s 91-run win over Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad on Monday. But he insisted on Thursday that the incident had been blown wildly out of proportion.
“Just to clarify, the television wasn’t hit by me with my bat at all, it was hit by my box that I’d thrown down at the end of cricket kit,” said Ponting, ahead of his team’s clash against New Zealand on Friday.
“I’m not sure where a lot of those stories have come from but I have accepted what the ICC have come up with as far as a reprimand is concerned from the incident. There was some small damage to the TV set and I went and reported it to the team manager straight away. They actually replaced the television set there and then.
“Some of the stories I have been hearing the last couple of days have been a little bit different to what the list of events actually were. Hopefully we can put this all behind us and start worrying about a big game of cricket. There’s a limit I guess (to how much) you can let off steam in a dressing room. It is a pretty sacred sort of place in international cricket.
“But there’s a line you can’t over-step. I accept responsibility for that happening, albeit by total accident and with no malice involved whatsoever. What’s happened has happened, I’d like to be able to take it back but I can’t.”
As far as Friday’s match is concerned, Australia, despite their overwhelming win against Zimbabwe, found batting tricky when left-arm spinner Ray Price took the new ball. Ponting said his side were ready for more of the same from either Vettori, also a slow left-armer, or off-break bowler Nathan McCullum.
“We know New Zealand will probably have two good spinners in their side and we know as tournament goes on we are going to have to play spin well if we want to be there when the big games come around. I’ve got total confidence in the players that they can all do that.
“Our record in the subcontinent over a long period of time shows we can do that. We are also prepared for New Zealand opening the bowling with spin and we are ready for that.”
Ponting is bidding to win his third straight World Cup as a captain and Australia their fourth in a row, both unprecedented achievements. Yet with stars such as Adam Gilchrist, Mattew Hayden and Shane Warne having retired, many feel now is the best time for another team to topple Australia.
“We haven’t been spoken about much as being contenders for this World Cup, which sits pretty well with me,” Ponting said.
“We can just go along and get our work done and prepare well and hopefully play well. We’ll let the other teams such as India worry about the pressure of being favourites for a tournament like this. All I can do is prepare well and prepare the team well and hopefully go out and play and we’ll see how far our talent takes us.
“But I think we’ve got a talented enough team here at the moment to be able to give the World Cup a really good shake.”