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Ponting warns Aussie fans not to retaliate in race row

The Australia cricket captain returns home from a tour of India marred by racial abuse with a warning to home fans not to retaliate when India visit in December.

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2007 09:30 IST

Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting on Monday returned home from a tour of India marred by racial abuse with a warning to home fans not to retaliate when India visit in December.

Ponting said while some Indian players would likely be given a "hard time" by fans when they played Down Under, he hoped this would not include racial taunts such as those endured by Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds in India.

Symonds, the only black player on the team, was subjected to monkey gestures during the last game of a seven-match one-day series in Mumbai on last Wednesday after earlier receiving similar abuse during the fourth game at Vadodara.

Ponting, whose team won the Indian one-day series 4-2 before losing a one-off Twenty20 match, urged Australian fans to treat the subcontinental team as they would any other touring side.

"I don't think they should be treated any differently because of what's happened over there," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, this whole racism stuff is completely unacceptable in any walk of life, let alone on a sporting field."

Ponting said nobody from the Indian team had spoken to him about the taunts, adding that they should be embarrassed by the crowd's attitude towards Symonds.

"I imagine they would be. They should be. I would be, in Australia," he said.

Australian cricket crowds do not have a lily-white reputation, with racial slurs and chants directed at some of the South African team in previous years.

"When that stuff happens I think all of Australia and all of India should be embarrassed about it," Ponting said.

The Australian skipper singled out paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who has been involved in on-field verbal clashes with Symonds, as one likely target of crowds Down Under.

"I'm sure that at different times Sreesanth and a few of the guys will cop a hard time from the Australian fans," Ponting told reporters in Sydney.

"That will generally happen at some stage to most teams that tour here, but I just hope -- I'll keep my fingers crossed -- there's no racial stuff (that) comes up at all through the summer."

Australia and India will play four Tests and one Twenty20 game during the summer tour which begins in December in Melbourne. Both teams will also take part in a triangular one-day series with Sri Lanka.

First Published: Oct 22, 2007 09:26 IST