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Ishant was the standout player: Ponting
March 05, 2008 14:33 IST
Australian captain Ricky Ponting [Images] on Wednesday gave a thumbs up to young paceman Ishant Sharma, saying the Indian speedster produced "some of the better bowling I have faced in Test cricket."
"Ishant has been the standout young player in the Indian set up though the tour. Everybody has spoken about him. At different times he has bowled very good spells. The spell he bowled to me in Perth on the last day was some of the better bowling I have faced in Test cricket," Ponting said.
The Aussie skipper said it would be interesting to watch how the towering Delhi pacer and other youngsters in the Indian team develop over the next few years.
"He's [Ishant] someone who's going to be around for a while and play a lot of cricket. It's something I have always said about the Indian team: they always seem to produce good young players. Let's see how they develop over the next few years," he told television channel NDTV.
Ponting lamented that the controversies during the tour showed him and his leadership in poor light.
"Probably yes. I think a few Australian players and me too [were shown in bad light]. I think a lot of it from me was really unavoidable. I was not involved in any of those stuff that happened. I was supposed to do captaining my side but with the Harbhajan incident somehow it came out looking badly," he said.
"A lot of things have been said about me but I really was not involved in any of those stuff... I don't think I could handle things any differently or any better," he added.
Ponting, however, denied that his team's performance was affected due to the off-field incidents or that Harbhajan Singh [Images] was spurred to do better.
"I don't think so it happened. If things get tough, you genuinely play a lot more better cricket and I think he [Harbhajan] tried to play exactly the same way [he performs usually].
"Australians also played in the same fashion like [Andrew] Symonds played in the same way whenever he had those pack of volleys, he genuinely played well. Matt Hayden was the same. They love being into such intense battle... Overall, I think we also played pretty well," he said.
Ponting, however, admitted that Harbhajan had a difficult tour Down Under would be relieved at the end of it.
"It's been a hard summer for him. As to say how many wickets he has ended up taking on this tour, I imagine he had a magnificent tour. He had a good tour and he has got wickets at the end... He got two big wickets in Sydney of Symonds and Hayden.
"He has got crucial breakthroughs and this is what you expect from a spinner. In cricket, you need a good quality spinner in ODIs who can come out in the middle and can break a partnership and that's what he has done through all this series.
"He had a fair share of his dues ever since he has been in Australia as he was among quite a few of those players.
"I think he must be relieved going back home and getting out of Australia and when you win a match, it becomes easier," he said.