Worst-behaved cricketer Harbhajan unmasked in public: Ponting

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Melbourne, May 10 (UNI) Still in disbelief over how Harbhajan Singh easily got away with the charges of racially abusing Andrew Symonds as a ''monkey'', Australian captain Ricky Ponting has urged the public to make its own judgement on the world's worst-behaved cricketer, after the turbanator's attack on Indian teammate S Sreesanth.

''The (slapping) incident was him dealing with a guy that he has probably played 20 Tests with,'' Ponting told ''Herald Sun'' in an interview.

''After this latest issue in India, I think people should be making their own judgements about Harbhajan. He has again done something wrong,'' he said.

Though, the temperamental off-spinner was banned from the ongoing Indian Premier League after he was found guilty of slapping Sreesanth, he is still facing a potential life ban from the BCCI's disciplinary committee.

Ponting, however, insisted that he wanted to look forward from here on, but the captain was still not able to digest the fact that how the BCCI had used its power to clear Harbhajan from racial charges.

Harbhajan was initially suspended for three Tests. But after India threatened to boycott its tour, he was cleared and received a 50 per cent match-fee fine on a lesser charge.

''It certainly wasn't the outcome that we expected,'' Ponting said.

''He ended up being fined 50 per cent of his match fee. As it is, I will cop a 20 or 30 per cent match-fee fine most one-day games because I am behind in the over rates.'' The right-handed batsman also admitted that the recent summer series against India was one of the toughest test of his career and added that even his boys were blamed for the controversies engulfed with that series.

After the Sydney Test which was marred by umpiring mistakes, on-field confrontations and Australia's in-your-face celebrations, Ponting was accused of ''turning a group of professional cricketers into a pack of wild dogs''.

''Most of us would put our hands up and say we made a few minor errors last year,'' Ponting conceded.

''I think the thing that happened was that every time there was a minor error it was turned into something that was a lot bigger than it was.

''I was reading things about Harbhajan and I having run-ins on the field when we didn't talk to each other in the course of the day. But the thing that I was happy with was that our cricket was generally pretty good in amongst all the stuff that was going on,'' the captain said.

''At the start of the summer everyone had a lot of doubts about the team with the changeover of players and everyone thought we would probably be pushed. We played pretty well,'' he added.

After his not so successful stint in the IPL, Ponting expressed his confidence that the tournament will go a long way provided it is handled correctly.

''If there is some sort of window carved out for an opportunity for international players to play (in the IPL) most years - and it doesn't have to be every year because that will never work out for everybody - I really do think they can manage it well,'' Ponting said.

''It won't be detrimental to world cricket if it is handled the right way. What it has done already is attracted new audiences. With more audiences, you are going to get more participation,'' he added.


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