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Soft on-field behaviour a challenge for Aussies: Ponting

cricket Updated: Jan 31, 2008 12:48 IST
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Australian captain Ricky Ponting has admitted that his team was facing the challenge of controlling their on-field behaviour in the wake of last few weeks' incidents.

"Sometimes tempers can get a little bit out of line but the challenge for us now, as I've said to the guys over the last few weeks, is just to take a little step back and have a little think about your actions before you actually act," Ponting said.

"We are not too good, not too big for criticism. We'll sit back and listen to it and a lot of the times actually cop it and go away and try and make ourselves better next time these sort of things happen," he was quoted as saying in the Australian media.

But he countered the claims that his team lacked sportsman spirit by saying "As far as sportsmanship on the field is concerned I think that is a little bit off the mark."

The Australian skipper said of late the sport had turned very professional and modern cricketers could not to be judged by the standards of the 1950s.

"I think one thing that a lot of people overlook is that we are not playing cricket in the 1950s and a lot of people I think are still living in the 1950s," he said.

Ponting was reacting to the comments of Governor-General Michael Jeffery, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former 'Invincible' Neil Harvey, who called for more civility on the cricket field in the wake of acrimonious Test series against India.

Jeffery had also called for a return to "fundamental courtesies and good manners".

But Ponting said with so much at stake and everyone trying to do their best, tempers were bound to flare up.

"It's now a fully professional game. It's not a game of just going out there and having a bit of a bat and a bowl and having a laugh and giggle with the opposition," he told the Australian media.

"This is fully fledged international sport played by fully professional athletes and we are trying to do the best by the game and by the Australian public and the on-field umpires and everyone involved in the game," he said.