Pawar changes tack, calls Ponting uncivilised
Two days after downplaying the incident, Sharad Pawar attacks the Aussies for their behaviour.india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 12:42 IST
Two days after downplaying the incident, Indian Cricket Board President Sharad Pawar has attacked the Australian cricket team for behaving in "totally uncivilised" manner on the presentation dais of the Champions Trophy in Mumbai.
Pawar, who had dismissed his being nudged out by the Australian players as something done in the excitement of the moment, has said he had refrained from making any strong remarks as he wanted to keep up the healthy relationship with Cricket Australia.
"I will not react to this other than to say it was totally uncivilised," he was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.
"This is not good at all but I have decided to play it down because we have an extremely good relationship with the Australian board and we would like to keep that going."
Pawar, also the Union Agriculture Minister, objected to the players rushing onto the dais at the awards function and sought an apology from the Australian team.
"Those players were not allowed to come onto the dais. It was only supposed to be the captain. Certainly, I would accept an apology because then we could close this chapter. The Australian Board is headed by a respected and civilised man and our relationship is extremely good. If they apologise, it would be a good signal to the people of this country," Pawar said.
Earlier, Pawar had dismissed the incident as a trivial issue, saying he was not insulted or embarrassed by it. He had also accused the television channels of hyping the issue and blowing it out of proportion.
The incident raged former and present Indian cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. Besides, the NCP, the political party headed by Pawar, also launched a protest against the Australian team.
However, the Australian media reported today that both the players had offered to apologise to Pawar.
A remorseful Ponting tried to contact Pawar at least a dozen of times, but all his went in vain, The Age reported today.
"I'd like to think not, I think the public have probably had an opportunity today to have a look at the incident (on television footage)," he said at the launch of his 2006 Captain's Diary.
"I hadn't seen it until this morning myself. It doesn't look great on television, but I think the more times you look at it, you probably realise that there's no intent to offend anybody," he said, adding "we all probably got a little bit caught up in the excitement of the moment.
"That's why I think it is so important for me to be in personal contact (with Pawar) and if there is anything lingering on to get it sorted out as quickly as we can."
Martyn also sought an apology from Pawar for the behaviour. "I did not mean to offend him and I apologise if I did so," he told Sydney-based Daily Telegraph.
"There was nothing in it other than me trying to help him out as there was a crush of people," he said.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland is trying to arrange through the Indian board for Ponting and Pawar to talk directly.