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    Ponting says corruption claims tarnishing cricket


    by ODN


    Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has said the ongoing corruption saga surrounding Pakistan's tour of England has tarnished the reputation of the sport.

    The tour has seen the suspensions of Pakistan test captain Salman Butt and teammates Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif after last month's fourth test at Lord's.

    The bans followed an investigation into newspaper reports they had deliberately arranged for no-balls to be delivered during England's only innings.

    Pakistan's chaotic tour of England degenerated into near anarchy on the morning of the fourth one-day international at Lord's on Monday, a match the visitors went on to win by 38 runs.

    The day began with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) threatening legal action against Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt following provocative comments about Friday's third match at the Oval which the tourists won by 23 runs.

    England captain Andrew Strauss said his team had "strong misgivings" about taking the field after Butt said there had been "loud and clear talk in bookies' circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose".

    Ponting maintains that the only way to save the image of cricket is for players to give their honest best on the pitch, as the Australian team arrived in India to start their tour with a three-day match.

    "We are going to do everything in the game between India and Australia to make sure that we play the game in the right way and to make it a spectacular watch," said Ponting.

    "There have been intense battles between teams, but that is how international cricket is supposed to be. As long as players from both sides understand what is wrong and what is right, and both teams play in the right spirit of the game, what has happened in the past will be forgotten. It is just a matter of moving on and playing," asserted Ponting.