Ponting apologises but draws flak from former players

Ahmedabad: The Australian team management on Tuesday insisted that Ricky Ponting "did not smash" any LCD screen in the dressing room after his dismissal during the World Cup opener against Zimbabwe but apologised for the damage caused, claiming it was accidental.

Ponting reportedly damaged an LCD in the team`s dressing room following his run out but team spokesman Lachy Patterson insisted that the incident was a mere accident.

"I am very disappointed by the reporting this morning that Ponting smashed the TV because that is not the case. He threw his protector on the ground, it bounced and hit the back of the TV," Patterson said.

"The screen did not smash, the TV did not leave the table. A small area of the screen had loss of picture. We apologised and went straight to the team manager and asked him the screen should be replaced which he immediately did. The issue is now closed," he added.

The Gujarat Cricket Association is set to lodge a complaint with the BCCI and Ponting`s reported behaviour also came under severe criticism from former cricketers.

The incident took place immediately after Ponting was run out yesterday by a direct hit from the deep by Zimbabwe`s Chris Mpofu in the Group A clash between the two teams.

An agitated Ponting was seen talking angrily to himself as he walked back to the dressing room and, in a state of fury, threw his gear, which accidentally hit the LCD monitor.

While Ponting is unlikely to face any disciplinary action if an ICC source is to be believed, his action didn`t go down well with the cricketing fraternity.

"The dressing room is supposed to be sacrosanct so I am a little bit disappointed. That sort of behaviour … you don`t want to hear about during a World Cup. You want to hear about Ricky Ponting making a 100, not messing up in the dressing room," said South Africa great Barry Richards.

"But one thing is obvious that there is a lot of pressure on him to try and win the World Cup," added Richards.

Former India cricketer Arun Lal was scathing in his criticism of Ponting.

"It`s awful. If you are disappointed, there is no reason to turn violent. You are disappointed, you made a mistake, an error of judgement. Everybody is disappointed but how does that mean that you come and throw your kit.

"It`s too childish, grow up, for God`s sake. You are playing the World Cup, you are an idol for the next generation," said Lal.

"It`s unfortunate, it`s a bit of an accident. I have played with a lot of international cricketers, there is frustration but, as Barry said, the dressing room is sacrosanct," said former England batsman Graeme Hick.

This is not the first time an Australian cricketer has been involved in breaching the ICC`s code of conduct in the dressing room.

Former opener Matthew Hayden was fined and severely reprimanded after an ugly incident in which he was charged with breaking the glass panel in the dressing room following an lbw dismissal in the fifth Ashes Test against England at the SCG in 2003.

Thanks to his previously clean record, Hayden was let off with a fine of 20 per cent of his match fee.