Thursday, Jun 06, 2002
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However, Ponting referred to the verbal assaults as ``friendly banter''.
``I don't mind a bit of the friendly banter going on but I've said right from the start that I don't like, and won't like, any personal barrages towards anyone,'' he said.
Australian cricketers were last week accused of being serial sledgers by South African players.
South African rookie Graeme Smith described their verbal assaults in the February-March Test series as ``below the belt''.
He singled out opener Matthew Hayden as the worst culprit, although he named Ponting, star spinner Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Justin Langer and wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist as just as foul-mouthed.
Ponting rejected the allegations. ``The umpires and the match referees in that series didn't think we stepped over the line so that is why it is so shocking to actually read about some of the things that were supposedly said,'' Ponting said.
``We did say a few things in the one-dayers but that was more light-hearted and playing on the fact that he wasn't hitting the ball that well.
``It was to do with how many edges he was getting and how lucky he was but, when I was captain anyway, there was never any personal stuff thrown against him.''
Ponting said Smith made his share of comments to the Australians, even though the 21-year-old was making his international debut against the world champions in both Test and one-day cricket.
``He had a fair bit to say and you can accept that. We said a few things to him and he was a young bloke out there trying to make his stamp on international cricket,'' Ponting said.
``If he's out there having a fair dinkum crack, then that's what we as Australians expect him to do.
``But a young guy coming in to Test cricket has got to expect a bit of that. We thought that he was going to be one of the weak links in the side and we thought if we could get into his mind a bit it would help us out.
``The way he's coming out now, it probably did do that.
Ponting said Australia's players were still waiting to hear from the Australian Cricket Board about their proposed tour to strife-torn Pakistan in late August. That tour looks more and more unlikely with Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer calling on Australians to evacuate the sub-continent. But next week Australia and Pakistan play the first match in a three match one-day series in Melbourne on Wednesday. AFP
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