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Ponting wants to avoid further abuse

The Aussie skipper hopes his players will not be subjected to more racial abuse in the coming Twenty20 match on Saturday.

cricket Updated: Oct 19, 2007 15:24 IST
Sanjay Rajan

Australia captain Ricky Ponting hopes there will be no recurrence of the racial abuse that has been directed at his players during a one-day series in India.

All rounder Andrew Symonds was racially abused by spectators during a one-day international in Baroda last week and fans directed similar taunts at the Australians in the final one-day match in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Australia, 4-2 winners of the seven-match series after the opener was washed out, take on India in a one-off Twenty20 international on Saturday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), which strengthened its anti-racism code last year, has written to Indian officials asking them to comment on events in Baroda, and Indian media came down heavily on the crowd behaviour.

"I was very disappointed to see some of the stuff that happened the other day," Ponting told a news conference on Friday.
The skipper added he had read in local newspapers on Friday that attempts were being made to improve the behaviour of the crowd.

"But that's not in our control. All we can do is get there and play and put on the best show that we can, and hopefully the crowds around enjoy what we do.

"If we put on a good show with our cricket then hopefully the fans will enjoy that more than just staying up to take a pot at somebody."

Saturday's match will be India's first home Twenty20 international. "We are pretty excited actually, and looking forward to the game. We are playing a team that has just won the World Cup a few weeks ago," Ponting said.

India surprised Australia, world champions in the 50-over format, in the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

Opener Matthew Hayden is expected to play on Saturday after the batsman missed the last two one-dayers with a sore hip.
India named their Twenty20 World Cup-winning squad for this match, though leg-spinner Piyush Chawla will miss out due to an ankle injury.

Ponting said the wicket looked good and the ground beautiful, but he had noticed the track here offered some spin when they played in the ICC Champions Trophy and won it by beating West Indies in the final in October-November, 2006.

"During the Champions Trophy we saw the wickets do spin a bit. We won that through our fast bowlers and have the bowlers who can adjust well to the conditions," he said.
Ponting, however, did not think that winning the Champions Trophy at this venue 11 months ago would have provided the Aussies with more inspiration as playing against the World Twenty20 champions in itself was enough of an inspiration to do well.

"Playing the World Champions in this format is enough of an inspiration. I hope it will be an interesting game tomorrow, an exciting game and we want to put up a good show and execute our skills well," he said.

Ponting said the T20 format did give some time for the batsmen to settle down once then are at the crease, but not much.
"You do get some time to get adjusted to the conditions, but not much. It's a lot more intense event and that's the way we prepare for it," he said but was not sure whether it was easier to adapt to this from the 50-over format or vice versa.
"There's always place for improvising in any format of the game," he added.