Chandigarh, Oct.16 : Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting said today that he expected the Indian selectors to show more faith in his Indian counterpart Anil Kumble than the media seemed to have, but at the same time accepted that Kumble seemed to be unwilling to stick it out and re-establish his reputation against his opponents.
"We knew it was only going to take one or two bad performances for some of their more senior players and the whole Indian media was going to be all over them," Fox Sports quoted Ponting, as saying.
"Probably (Sourav) Ganguly and (VVS) Laxman took a bit of it off themselves with a few runs in the Test, but for Kumble to go through a Test without taking any wickets obviously a lot of pressure is going to come back onto him. But I think for the sort of guy who's played as much as he has, he can be afforded a bad game every now and then," Ponting added.
Ponting has watched the local media treatment of Kumble with a combination of anticipation and fascination, sympathy and surprise.
The anticipation came pre-series when Ponting pondered the role the vast and often excitable Indian media could play in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, particularly with so many ageing warriors in the home side.
The fascination is much the same for any Australia cricketer, who thinks he's under the microscope at home until he arrives in India to discover just how intense and unrelenting the spotlight is on the subcontinent.
The sympathy is natural from one captain to another.
And the surprise was Ponting's response to Kumble's reaction to his media bake this week, published in his syndicated column, which sounded touchy, hurt and less worldly than one might expect of an intelligent man with 18 years experience on the global stage.
"He should know better I suppose, shouldn't he?" Ponting told AAP.
"I mean we've all understood how difficult it is for their players to play here in India, the spotlight from the people, the public, let alone the media, is pretty intense, and immense, so yeah I'm a bit surprised that he'd be surprised by it."
Criticism goes with the territory for international captains, even more so when they are not performing with bat or ball. Some have handled it better than others.
Kumble has responded sharply to the wave of negativity he has received from reporters, former captains and members of the public dialling in to talk shows on one of the nation's cricket-only sports channels.
"Over the past few days, given all the media attention I have received before and during the match, with various uncharitable comments on my fitness and retirement and performance as a player and captain, it does seem like I'm back in Australia again," Kumble wrote.
"That time ... saw me unfortunately having to split my time between playing cricket and handling a host of unnecessary off-field issues. I didn't really expect to have to go through this all over again on my home turf. What has also been somewhat unexpected is the way the Indian media seems to have delighted in analysing and sensationalising every little action, remark or gesture. I would really appreciate if certain people realise that cricket is not spoken, it's played and we, the Indian team, are out to play it," he added.
Ponting has also had his share of criticism, most notably from columnist Peter Roebuck, who went as far as to call for his resignation for not scoring runs in India.
"It's more difficult when you're captain as well," Ponting said with some sympathy.
"I think him (Kumble) being captain of the side they would have had great expectations, the Indian media and public, going into that Bangalore game and I think we showed if we play somewhere near our best then I don't care what opposition we're playing against or anywhere in the world, we're going to be very competitive," he said.