Ponting under fire from former players, media

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Sydney, Nov 10 (UNI) With clouds of disappointment looming over Ricky Ponting, the skipper has now come under fire from former greats and media for being selfish and sacrificing every chance to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the final Test against India.

The Australian captain did not use his best bowlers including pace spearhead Brett Lee, when there was a chance to push for victory in final Test in Nagpur to avoid the risk of being suspended for a Test against New Zealand, starting later this month.

The use of part-time bowlers by Ponting in the post-tea session at the fourth day's play yesterday has come under scathing criticism from the Australian media.

Allan Border, former Australian captain and the game's longest serving captain, said Ponting should have attempted to win the match and not worried about his suspension.

''I don't know what to make of all this. They go into the tea break on a high and come out worrying about over rates,'' he said.

''They let a golden opportunity slip,'' a upset Border added.

Ponting was earlier criticised for his consultative approach with bowlers between balls, and was unable to use strike bowler Lee for a whole session in Mohali because he was behind the over rate.

Noted cricket writer Peter Roebuck in the Fairfax newspapers, publishers of 'The Sydney Morning Herald' and 'The Age', has slammed Ponting for sacrificing the country's interest for personal gains.

''What on earth was he (Ponting) thinking?'' asks Roebuck.

''In one of the most baffling displays of captaincy seen in the long and proud history of Australian cricket, Ricky Ponting has denied his side a deserved chance of securing a famous victory.

''Rather than pressing home an advantage secured by dint of outstanding swing bowling and inspired spin in a fraught and fascinating afternoon session, the Australian captain preferred to use part-timers. Presumably, it was an attempt to improve an ailing over-rate. Perhaps he was worried about missing the next match,'' he said.

''On the resumption, every man and his dog expected Ponting to throw the ball to his only spinner and one of his weary but incisive pacemen, Brett Lee or Shane Watson..The cricketing world will be stunned,'' added Roebuck.

However, Australia coach Tim Nielson while defending Ponting said, ''I don't think for one second Ricky hasn't pressed for the win.

The consequence of bowling our fast bowlers before that was that we were down in our over rate and had a responsibility to catch that up,'' Nielson was quoted as saying in the Fairfax newspapers.

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