Melbourne: Reprimanded and criticised for damaging a TV set inside the dressing room during a World Cup match at Ahmedabad, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting found a sympathiser in player-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri, who said such incidents are not new in international cricket.
"Everyone`s human and the dressing-room has been the only place you can vent your feelings. You take out your frustrations and then it`s over. Far worse has been done than broken televisions," the former India player said.
Shastri defended Ponting over the incident, saying public disclosure of the matter represented a gross invasion of a player`s right to privacy.
"The dressing-room is like a temple, a church, a mosque or a gurudwara.”
"What happens in a dressing-room stays in a fricking dressing-room. If anyone was to reprimand Ponting it should have been Cricket Australia. If he`s broken a TV he has to pay his dues for that and get on with it," he said.
"But as far as an official hanging around dressing-rooms is concerned, I say very clearly there is no way he would have had a sniff of the dressing room in our day," he said.
Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) registered a complaint with the BCCI after Ponting smashed an LCD television set in the dressing room during his side`s World Cup opener against Zimbabwe.
The incident occurred immediately after Ponting was run out on 28 by a direct hit from Chris Mpofu in a group A clash between Australia and Zimbabwe on February 20.
The incident, though, seems to have ignited debate over the right to privacy of the sporting competitors, and the insatiable hunger of 24x7 media which is ever ready to present even the minutest of the incidents, denting the dignity of the game.
"It`s getting tougher and tougher to be a sporting figure these days because the media spectrum has broadened to an extent where you`re literally public property," Shastri viewed.
Ponting later apologised for his act and admitted that there was "a limit (to how much) you can let off steam in a dressing-room".
"It is a pretty sacred sort of place, an international cricket team dressing-room, but there`s a line that you can`t overstep and when some equipment is damaged in the change-room then I accept the responsibility for that happening the other day, albeit by total accident and with no malice involved in it whatsoever.”
"What`s happened has happened. I`d like to be able to take it back but I can`t. Now we`ve just got to move on," the skipper had said in the aftermath of the incident.