We were let down by CA's stand on Harbhajan, says Ponting

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Sydney, Nov 12 (UNI) Condemning the lack of support from Cricket Australia (CA) during the Harbhajan Singh race row, captain Ricky Ponting said he and his teammates felt 'let down' by the board's stand on the whole episode and described 2008 as the worst year of his cricketing career.

''We made the mistake of assuming that those closest to us would automatically back us and realise that our cause was noble,'' Ponting wrote in his captain's Diary 2008, which is to be published tomorrow.

''When we didn't get that support, we were angry and felt totally let down,'' he said and added that he would continue to captain the team in the same fashion as he has always done.

During India's tour of Australia earlier this year, Harbhajan was found guilty of racially abusing all-rounder Andrew Symonds and banned for three Tests.

But the off-spinner was let-off and the punishment was reduced to a fine on appeal after India reportedly threatened to abandon its tour.

The Australian players fumed over CA's handling of the affair after the governing body steered them towards seeking a lesser charge at the appeal hearing.

''I hope I never have to go through another year like it before my career is through,'' Ponting said of the 2007-08 season, although that wish seems to be evaporating after his leadership has again been called into question following the 0-2 series loss in India a couple of days back.

Ponting revealed his disenchantment with the outcome, but promised to continue captaining in the same fashion.

''I guess there was a certain naivety on my part in all of this; next time, I'll want to be just as sure about my convictions as I was this time, but I'll also want to be certain that the game is as committed to justice as I am before I put my reputation, and the reputation of my teammates, on the line.

''There is a part of me that says in future I should steer clear of 'cricket politics' but I don't want to run away from my responsibilities. I couldn't then, and I won't in future.

Trust me,'' he wrote.

The Australian captain, who arrived here last night from India, recalled that he was playing in a charity golf event the day Sydney Morning Herald published a piece from Peter Roebuck which cricticised him to the core and also demanded that Ponting be sacked.

In his book, Ponting wrote, ''After a few holes, I gave (my wife) Rianna a quick call - she was still asleep when I left before the sun came up - and the first thing she said to me was, 'What's going on?' ''What do you mean what's going on? ''It's all over the front page of the paper. You're going to lose your job!' ''Peter Roebuck had written a lengthy piece that demanded I be sacked. The message in the page-one (story) was loud and emphatic: Ponting Must Go.

''He was scathing in his criticism, which of course he is entitled to be, but to me he was so far over the top it was ridiculous.

''It was as if we'd started World War III. He suggested that the entire cricket community was 'disgusted' and 'distressed' by our performance, but that was hardly the feedback I was getting,'' he said.

Roebuck's opinion piece, which was written days after the drama-filled Sydney Test in January, was published on the front page of the Herald.

In his peiece Roebuck wrote, ''If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days.'' ''Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years. The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not packed their bags and gone home. There is no justice for them in this country, nor any manners,'' Roebuck wrote.

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