Ponting urges fans to treat India with respect

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SYDNEY, Oct 22 (Reuters) Australia captain Ricky Ponting has urged cricket fans to treat the Indian team with respect on their tour of Australia starting in December.

''I'd like to see the Australian fans and public treat the Indian team the same way they would any other team,'' Ponting told reporters after arriving back in Sydney today following his team's tour of India.

The tour was marred by racist abuse of Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

''I don't think they (the Indian team) should be treated any differently because of what's happened over there,'' Ponting said.

''As far as I'm concerned this whole racism stuff is completely unacceptable in any walk of life, let alone on a sporting field.

''I'm sure that at different times (India fast bowler Shantha) Sreesanth and a few of the guys will cop a hard time from the Australian fans.

''That will generally happen at some stage to most teams that tour here, but I just hope -- I'll keep my fingers crossed -- there's no racial stuff comes up at all through the summer.'' India are due to arrive in Australia in December for a four-test series and one-day tournament also involving Sri Lanka.

REUTERS RAR AS0905

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