Off field controversies affecting Ponting: Gilchrist

February 16th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Sydney, Feb 16 (IANS) The recent controversies surrounding the Australian cricketers has taken a toll of the on-field performance of their captain Ricky Ponting, his retiring teammate Adam Gilchrist said Saturday. “I am sure he, like all of us, is worn down by the focus,” Gilchrist was quoted as saying in The Sydney Morning Herald. “There have been a lot of issues that have been around and other highly controversial matters.

“The Pakistan tour has been hanging around, the IPL, the Indian Test series and all the issues there in the [Harbhajan Singh racism] hearing.

“He has had to take the brunt on most of it. He wants to do it, he acknowledges that is his job,” he said.

Ponting this summer has been embroiled in numerous off field issues, the latest of which is Sunday’s deadline to sign a contract to play in the Indian Premier League.

Gilchrist says Ponting has been burdened with aftermaths of the Sydney Test, the racism row, security fears over the Pakistan tour and the IPL contract wrangling.

Ponting is going through a lean patch this series and has been dismissed four times in succession by edging a delivery to the keeper or slips during the tri-series, and suffered similarly against young Indian paceman Ishant Sharma in the Test series.

He has managed to score just 43 runs at 10.75 this series, compared to his career average of 43.86 in one-day internationals.

But Gilchrist, who celebrated a masterful century in his last match on his home ground, the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground, to lead Australia to a 63-run win over Sri Lanka Friday night, has no doubts Ponting will bounce back to form.

“He is still running the team beautifully, controlling, captaining. He is still very much Ricky Ponting,” Gilchrist said. “He will go on.”

Ponting has also struggled with a back injury in the past month while scoring a century in the final Test against India in Adelaide.

Meanwhile, Ponting is one of 16 Australian players who must meet Sunday’s deadline to sign contracts if they wish to play in the IPL. The player auction will be held on Wednesday.

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