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Gavaskar defends Ponting, says Aussies are improving

By Staff
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Sydney, Apr 19 (UNI) After being extremely critical of their bullying tactics in the past, Sunil Gavaskar said he is finally seeing some improvement in the on-field behaviour of the Australian team and came out in defence of skipper Ricky Ponting, who was fined for showing dissent towards umpires in the first Test against Bangladesh.

Gavaskar said he was pretty satisfied with the way the World Champions have conducted themselves in the recent past.

''I think they're really much better than they were about four, five years ago. I think the Australians play their cricket hard and occasionally they go a bit over the top but their general behaviour has improved,'' Gavaskar was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.

''I don't think there is any problem with Ricky at all. What happened on the first day was just one of those things,'' he added, reffering to the incident when Ponting's intervention led to the reversal of the third umpire's decision in favour of the Aussies.

Gavaskar felt the Australians have been through a hard cricket season under trying conditions and they might be excused for small incidents here and there. He said he did not find anything wrong with Ponting's behaviour, who ''is well aware of his responsibilities as captain.'' ''We have to remember -- and I am not making excuses -- that the Australians have had a long season and they have travelled a bit,'' he said, attributing the behaviour to a long season.

''They're at the end of a season, they have been going for three or four months and the conditions, hot and humid, did not help. I personally don't find a problem with him (Ponting),'' he said.

The Chairman of the ICC's cricket committee said the credit for the Aussies' improved behaviour must go to their board Cricket Australia, which according to him, has implemented strict rules to check their on-field actions.

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