CA chief backs captain, says Ponting was never asked for explanati

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Sydney, Nov 13 (UNI) Taking a U-turn from its earlier stand, Cricket Australia (CA) backed captain Ricky Ponting's decision to bowl part-timers in the crucial last Test against India and said the skipper has always put the team's interest ahead of him.

CA cheif executive James Sutherland had earlier said he would seek explanation from Ponting for using part-timers ahead of strike bowlers when India were in deep trouble on the fourth afternoon of the last Test at Nagpur.

Ponting was accused of trying to avoid one-match suspension for slow over-rate ''His batting speaks for itself, but given the events of this week perhaps some need reminding that he is already a cricketing great,'' Sutherland said here at the launch of Ponting's 'Captain's Diary 2008'.

''He is a player that has always put the team first and he has never measured success by personal statistics,'' Sutherland was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald today.

''Any suggestion that he put himself ahead of the team last week in Nagpur is completely off beam and can only come from someone who does not know or understand him.

''With the state of the game today I think Ricky has the potential to end up as the most influential Australian cricketer ever, Bradman apart,'' he added.

Sutherland also denied to have ever said that he will seek an explanation from Ponting from using the part-timers even when he had an opportunity to finish the Indian tail with his pacers.

''I was asked a question in Melbourne a few days ago and really I explained that by saying that I didn't really want to be drawn on that because I hadn't had an opportunity to really understand what happened in the course of the game and I would have the opportunity hopefully in the next few days to talk to people and understand that.

''It wasn't me issuing a please explain or wanting to come in and interfere on cricket tactics so it's been a little bit misunderstood,'' he explained.

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