'Ponting should be sacked from captaincy'

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Bangalore, Jan 8: Well-known Sydney cricket journalist Peter Roebuck has called for the head of Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

In a scathing opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Roebuck, a noted authority on the game, says Ponting's antics in the second test have brought shame upon the honourable traditions of all those who have worn the 'baggy green cap'. English-born Roebuck, a former first-class cricketer himself, says those at the top of Australian cricket have a responsibility to uphold the values of the game. If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days", writes Roebuck.

"Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years. The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not packed their bags and gone home. There is no justice for them in this country, nor any manners"

Roebuck claims Ponting's display at the SCG went even further than shaming the 11 Australian players on the field.

"(The nation of) Australia itself has been embarrassed", he said, accusing Ponting and his men of showing not a jot of respect for the Indian tourists.

Roebuck was displeased at the often grumpy and grizzly temperament on show by Ponting's Australian side - which starkly contrasted with their overtly frenetic display of exuberance when they claimed the final, unlikely victory on Sunday afternoon.

"Probably the worst aspect of the Australians' performance was their conduct at the end", he writes.

"When the last catch was taken they formed into a huddle and started jumping up and down like teenagers at a rave. It was not euphoria. It was ecstasy. They had swallowed a dangerous pill called vengeance. Not one player so much as thought about shaking hands with the defeated and departing."

"Ponting has not provided the leadership expected from an Australian cricket captain and so must be sacked."

Roebuck's damning call has echoed comments made by former India cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar, a commentator during the second test.

Gavaskar noted the hypocrisy displayed by Ponting who refused to walk when he nicked a clear leg-side catch through to the wicketkeeper, yet, during the India innings, Ponting asked umpire Mark Benson to take fieldsman Michael Clarke's word for it on a very dubious did-he-or-didn't-he slips catch in the dismissal of Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly staunchly stood his ground, but the umpire raised his finger when Ponting indicated that his fieldsman had assured him he was confident the catch had been taken.

"You can't say, 'take my word for it' when I am fielding, but when I'm batting, I'll do whatever I want", challenged an indignant Gavaskar.


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