Aussie skipper's parents 'abused'

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Canberra, Jan 9 (UNI) The simmering tension between Australia and India has taken its toll on the parents of skipper Ricky Ponting, who had to change their telephone number after receiving abusive calls in the wake of the controversy surrounding the second Test against India.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ponting spoke of the pressure his family was under amid calls for his sacking, but defended his team against accusations of arrogance.

''There were a few people who rang (my parents) in the past few days, people having a dig,'' he said. ''It was disappointing for them to have to go through that.'' Despite saying earlier in the week that the Australian team had played within the spirit of the game during the second Test, Ponting yesterday admitted that there could be areas in which the team could improve.

''I don't think anyone wants the way Australia plays cricket to change,'' he said. ''Everyone likes to see a tough, uncompromising brand of cricket.'' ''But if there are areas in our game to improve on, then obviously we need to address that.'' He referred to his own actions in standing at the crease after being given out LBW in the first innings of the Sydney Test.

''There's no doubt I stood there for a second or two too long and I shouldn't have done that,'' he said.

''It probably didn't help that I was shown throwing my bat when I got back to the rooms.'' ''Some of the guys mightn't have shaken Indian skipper Anil Kumble's hand after the game but we were so wrapped up with the end of the game that we were already off the field. We all walked along when it was over and shook their hands.'' Ponting said he wanted Australian team members to be ''remembered as being good people as well as great cricketers''.

UNI XC TB AM AS2218

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