Ponting apologises, but draws flak from former players

Ahmedabad, Feb 22 (PTI) Australia skipper Ricky Pontingtoday apologised for smashing an LCD screen in the team''sdressing room following his run out in the World Cup openeragainst Zimbabwe, but his behaviour came under severecriticism from former cricketers.

The incident took place immediately after Ponting was runout yesterday by a direct hit from the deep by Zimbabwe''sChris Mpofu in the Group A clash between the two teams.

An agitated Ponting was seen talking angrily to himselfas he walked back to the dressing room and, in a state offury, threw his gear, which accidentally hit the LCD monitor.

Ponting, Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) officialsclaimed, immediately apologised and requested the authoritiesfor a replacement, said the Australian team''s media managerLachy Paterson.

While Ponting is unlikely to face any disciplinary actionif an ICC source is to be believed, his action didn''t go downwell with the cricketing fraternity.

"The dressing room is supposed to be sacrosanct so I ama little bit disappointed. That sort of behaviour ... youdon''t want to hear about during a World Cup. You want to hearabout Ricky Ponting making a 100, not messing up in thedressing room," said South Africa great Barry Richards.

"But one thing is obvious that there is a lot of pressureon him to try and win the World Cup," added Richards.

Former India cricketer Arun Lal was scathing in hiscriticism of Ponting.

"It''s awful. If you are disappointed, there is no reasonto turn violent. You are disappointed, you made a mistake, anerror of judgement. Everybody is disappointed but how doesthat mean that you come and throw your kit.

"It''s too childish, grow up, for God''s sake. You areplaying the World Cup, you are an idol for the nextgeneration," said Lal.

"It''s unfortunate, it''s a bit of an accident. I haveplayed with a lot of international cricketers, there isfrustration but, as Barry said, the dressing room issacrosanct," said former England batsman Graeme Hick.

This is not the first time an Australian cricketer hasbeen involved in breaching the ICC''s code of conduct in thedressing room.

Former opener Matthew Hayden was fined and severelyreprimanded after an ugly incident in which he was chargedwith breaking the glass panel in the dressing room followingan lbw dismissal in the fifth Ashes Test against England atthe SCG in 2003.

Thanks to his previously clean record, Hayden was let offwith a fine of 20 per cent of his match fee.

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