Zaheer Khan and Ricky Ponting were involved in a spat after the Australian skipper got run out on the first day of the first Test in the current series here on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Ponting had said it was good this series had been devoid of verbal sparring and it was the responsibility of the two teams to exercise restraint. “It is important for the series to be played in the right spirit,” he had said.
Ponting, run out on 71, was walking past the Indian huddle when Zaheer said a few words to him. The batsman reacted, leading to a verbal duel that was stopped with the intervention of umpire Billy Bowden.
The exact nature of the exchange is not known but while India tried to play it down, the day’s centurion — Australia’s Shane Watson, who scored an unbeaten 101 — blamed Zaheer. "After seeing the footage, I think it was Zaheer who came out of the huddle and said something to Ponting to which he responded. Ricky is not the kind of guy who picks up a fight,” Watson said.
"When two teams play tough cricket, sometimes words are exchanged,” said Pragyan Ojha.