Ponting and CA could have averted Sydney Test controversy: Matthews

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Melbourne, Jan 13 (UNI) Former Australian Test spinner Greg Matthews today joined the anti-Ponting campaign saying that former Australia captain Mark Taylor wouldn't have let anything like this to happen under his leadership, referring to the controversial second Test against India at Sydney.

Matthews said Ponting should have acted in a more dignified manner so that the match would have been remembered for Aussies' win rather than the controversies it made in the end.

''One single phone call, one act of humility from our leader (Ponting) or from Cricket Australia's bosses would have resolved everything. How did it get to this stage?'' he said.

''It's so sad. It's a poor reflection on everyone involved.'' Ponting has been criticised by the cricket pundits for his handling of Harbhajan Singh's racial slur against Andrew Symonds, with India skipper Anil Kumble revealing Australia's skipper had refused his request for private peace talks.

The 33-Test veteran seemed surprised that even Cricket Australia backed the captain and did not speak to India captain Anil Kumble to settle down things.

''I am truly amazed that someone in a position of power at Cricket Australia just didn't say to Ricky, 'Have a talk to Anil and sort this out for the good of the game'. Why didn't that happen?'' Claiming former Australia captain Mark Taylor as a man of integerity he said Taylor would have not come across such a situation. ''This would never have happened under Mark Taylor.

''Mark is a man of unbelievable integrity. He had a great ability to talk to people, not at them. Even though he had some fiery characters in his team, he did a phenomenal job through his humility and standing as a human being.'' He added that Ponting is an exceptional batsman for which he has always received praise from all quarters but the captain will have to take responsibility for defaming Australian cricket.

''Ricky gets enormous accolades through his performances on the field. But on this issue, he has to wear some responsibility.'' Meanwhile, former West Indies' fast bowler Michael Holding too criticised Australia for not being able to set the behavioural benchmark as world cricket's number 1 team.

''Australia is the No. 1 team and as such they should be setting the benchmark for the spirit in how the game is played,'' Holding said.

''I base that on their excessive appealing and the way they intimidate umpires,'' he added.

Holding said Harbhajan should never have been reported for allegedly calling Symonds a ''monkey''.

''I do not understand how this (monkey) is a racist term. The scientists say we all came from monkeys, so how can this be deemed racist?'' he said.

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