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Sack arrogant Ponting, says Australian daily

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2008 10:20 IST

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Australia should immediately sack its arrogant and abrasive captain Ricky Ponting and it's a surprise that India has not called off the tour and gone back home, said an aghast Peter Roebuck.

Lambasting the members of the Australian side for their rude behaviour, Roebuck, the former Somerset captain who is based in Sydney, singled out Ponting and said the captain must be sacked.

"If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days," said the furious former cricketer, also one of the best cricket writers of his era.

"Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years," he wrote in his column for Sydney Morning Herald.

"The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not packed their bags and gone home. There is no justice for them in this country, nor any manners," he observed.

He said the lack of sportsmanship among the Australians hurt their young fans and former players alike.

"Pained past players rang to express their disgust. It was a wretched and ill-mannered display and not to be endured from any side, let alone an international outfit representing a proud sporting nation," Roebuck wrote.

According to him, Ponting and his men had embarrassed Australia through their triumph in the spiteful second Test.

"The notion that Ponting can hereafter take the Australian team to India is preposterous. He has shown not the slightest interest in the well-being of the game... Not a single mark of respect for his accomplished and widely admired opponents."

He was no less harsh on the hosts for targeting Harbhajan Singh, who has been slapped a three-match ban for racially abusing Andrew Symonds, a charge the player and his team have vociferously refuted.

"Harbhajan Singh can be an irritating young man but he is head of a family and responsible for raising nine people. And all the Australian elders want to do is to hunt him from the game.

"Australian fieldsmen fire insults from the corners of their mouths, an intemperate Sikh warrior overreacts and his rudeness is seized upon. It might impress barrack room lawyers," he said.

"In the past few days, Ponting has presided over a performance that dragged the game into the pits. He turned a group of professional cricketers into a pack of wild dogs."

Roebuck was equally miffed with the wild Australian celebration after the match.

"Probably the worst aspect of the Australians' performance was their conduct at the end. When the last catch was taken, they formed into a huddle and started jumping up and down like teenagers at a rave. It was not euphoria. It was ecstasy.

"They had swallowed a dangerous pill called vengeance. Not one player so much as thought about shaking hands with the defeated and departing," he rued.

"Ponting has not provided the leadership expected from an Australian cricket captain and so must be sacked. On this evidence, the time has also come to thank Hayden and Gilchrist for their services... All will look back on this match not as their finest hour but their worst," he said.

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