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Nielsen downplays Ponting-Bhajji spat

Australia coach Tim Nielsen feels there was not much to make out of the brief exchange of words between both the players in Sunday's Adelaide ODI of the CB series.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Adelaide
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2008 04:25 PM IST

Australia coach Tim Nielsen on Monday played down the brief exchange of words between Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting in Sunday's match and admitted the home captain's poor form has become a worry for the team.

Ponting, who has been Harbhajan's bunny in the Test series against India, could not hide his glee after his nemesis was out in Sunday's match which the hosts won by 50 runs.

Ponting appeared to say something to Harbhajan as the Indian left the crease but his coach felt there was not much to make out of it.

"It's been a long summer and there is a bit of feeling between the sides. But it's not different to what has always happened in the 100 years of the game.

"Only because it's between India and Australia, Harbhajan and Ponting and those sort of things and people notice it more," he said.

"I don't think it isn't there in the games against Sri Lanka but they are not noticed as much," Nielsen added.

He, however, was candid enough to admit that the top order was not firing on all cylinders and the captain has not been at his best, to say the least.

"Ricky has set such high standards over the last four or five years that everyone wants to see a bit more on the screen," he said.

"He's not having the season he would like. He hit the ball pretty hard but straight to point. He is showing good form in the nets but is under pressure for not contributing as he would like to," Nielsen said.

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