Just a few days after Michael Hussey said that 'the controversy after the Sydney Test of 2008 galvanised the Indian team to lift their game at Perth', Ricky Ponting said yesterday that the incident had affected Australia more than India. India registered a 72-run win during their previous visit here to the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground (WACA) in 2007-08.
Ricky Ponting Pic/ AFP
"I don't think that had a huge impact on the way India played their cricket," he said, referring to a question on whether India were extra motivated to win at Perth after the controversial Sydney Test. "I think it might have had a bit of an impact on us and the way we went about things," Ponting told reporters ahead of tomorrow's third Test match against India.
Ponting had written in Captain's Diary 2008 that his team felt betrayed by Cricket Australia (CA) during the controversy, and that the organisation had gone out of their way to appease India -- who had threatened to pull out of the tour after Harbhajan Singh was banned for three Test matches.
Meanwhile, Ponting retorted to Zaheer Khan's claims that he has lost his flair. "There is more than one way to skin a cat," he said. "You would probably say the same thing about Sachin Tendulkar and the way he has accumulated runs over the years. Someone like Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid are consistent run-scorers.
"I have had to work really hard at my game over the last few months. I have made progress over the last few weeks and been able to put some good scores on the board. I have not been worried about what Zaheer or anybody else has got to say. I know what I have to do to be a consistent performer for Australia," he added.
Ponting, who ended his 33-innings century drought with a magnificent 134 in last week's Sydney Test, said he was close to his best again. "I've made some progress on getting to where I want to be. The biggest challenge for me with the technical flaws that I've been working on has been getting enough quality time in the middle and starting to feel that bit more free again and feel my rhythm starting to come back into my batting.
"The first 30 or 40 runs in Sydney last week I was probably still battling myself a little bit but at the start of Day Two was probably as free as I've felt in a long time, the way that I moved and hit most of the balls in the middle. I might have played and missed one ball I think, on that second morning. When you're making as few mistakes as I did for the last half of that innings, you can start to take some confidence from that," he added.