Before the Test series between India and Australia began, the captains arrived at an understanding that, in the event of a catch being taken, the fielder's word would be taken at face value. On the second day of the Sydney Test, Ponting himself showed what a sportsman he can be by pointing out that the catch he had taken off Rahul Dravid was actually taken on the half volley.
Then, on the final day, with Australia chasing a record 16th straight Test win, he backed a Michael Clarke claim that he had caught Sourav Ganguly. Worse, he himself appealed for a catch off Mahendra Singh Dhoni after 'completing' a diving catch -- in the process of which he grounded the ball.
So, at the press conference, I decided to ask him to explain the two faces of Ricky Ponting. "Sorry, I think you got something wrong there. There is no way I grounded the ball!" he said. "If you are actually questioning my integrity in the game, you should not even be standing...."
I would not let him complete that, would I? "So what is it about Ricky Ponting that makes him allow a batsman to continue in one innings and claim such a catch in the second? Did you really think you had taken it cleanly?"
Ponting's face was red by now. "What I did in the first innings, doesn't it explain the way I play the game?"
I said I had my doubts and hence was asking him.
"Okay, I would say that if I wasn't 100 per cent sure of having taken the catch, I would not have claimed it. In any case, the umpire ruled him not out, didn't he?"
The Australian team's media manager stepped in to prevent further inquisition and before long Ponting was taking another question. So much for sportsmanship!
Not surprisingly, it led India captain Anil Kumble to insist that only one team played in the spirit of the game.