Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Ponting says Australians did not intend to offend

AGENCIES , SYDNEY

Australian cricketer Damien Martyn, left, urges Indian cricket chief Sharad Pawar off the dias so that the team could pose with the trophy after Australia's eight-wicket win over the West Indies in Sunday's final in Mumbai. Cricket Australia said that it would investigate reports of rude behavior by the Australian team after its Champions Trophy win in India at the weekend.

PHOTO: AFP

Australia captain Ricky Ponting says his team did not intend to appear disrespectful to India's top cricket official during the Champions Trophy presentation.

The Australians were criticized by Indian newspapers after claims Damien Martyn pushed Indian cricket chief Sharad Pawar in the back to get him off the podium while they were celebrating their win.

Ponting was also criticized for appearing to gesture to Pawar to hand over the trophy and move off the stage during the long and drawn-out ceremony.

Ponting said his team had never intended to offend Pawar, but added that he planned to speak with him to clear up any misunderstanding and offer an apology.

"It probably has had a little bit of the gloss taken off, but I'll be doing the best I can to get my point across to the concerned people in India and let them know we were not trying to embarrass them or anything like that," Ponting told a news conference yesterday.

"We were all pretty keen to get our hands on the trophy and celebrate accordingly," he said.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he was satisfied the players had not meant to offend Pawar, but said he was disappointed at the way the team had been portrayed in the media.

Indian newspapers displayed pictures of Australian batsman Damien Martyn pushing Pawar with his right hand, urging him to get off the stage so the team could pose with the trophy.

Indian cricket stars Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar also criticized the Australians' behavior.

"I was standing just behind the guy waiting to be presented with the trophy and it wasn't coming my way so I reached around to accept the trophy from him," Ponting said.

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