Warne, Ponting locked in war of words after series whitewash

Melbourne: Australian great Shane Warne and current captain Ricky Ponting were today engaged in a war of words in the aftermath of series whitewash against India.

The Australians have not suffered a whitewash since 1988-89 home series against the West Indies and will go into the Ashes series with its worst Test losing streak in the last 22 years.

Even before the Bangalore match had ended, Warne reacted to Ponting’s field placements on his twitter page.

“How the hell can Hauritz bowl to this field ?? Feeling for Hauritz , terrible !! What are these tactics ? Sorry Ricky but what are you doing,” Warne wrote.

Ponting shot back but admitted his side can’t avoid criticism in the wake of defeat ahead of Ashes series.

“Every field that Nathan has had to bowl with since he’s been here has been at his request. It’s the field he wants to bowl to. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Shane would take the time to ask anyone about that. He’s got his opinion out in the public at the moment,” Ponting was quoted as saying by an Australian newspaper.

“It’s a personal opinion, I guess, and something we all face as international cricketers. Different people say different things at different times. We don’t always agree with them but that’s life, I guess. There’s no doubt we’ll face a bit of criticism having lost two Test matches here,” he said.

Warne though later said he has explained to Ponting that Tweets were just in response to fans asking his opinions.

“Me and Punter swapped a few SMS’s last night. We’re mates, we’re going to disagree a few times, it doesn’t mean suddenly we hate each other and things like that,” Warne told local media.

Meanwhile, the crushing series defeat ahead of Ashes, has exposed the Australian team to some tough questions by its media.

Noted columnist Peter Roebuck writes in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ while the Indian youngsters took up the gauntlet experienced Australia trudged its way to defeat.

“At the critical time, Young India stood up to be counted, and old Australia floundered. A confident partnership between two novices called into the team as replacements for established players put India on the road to victory on a disappointingly one-sided final day,” he wrote.

Youngsters Murali Vijay, who scored his maiden century, and Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a magnificent 72, played a crucial role in India’s win.

Roebuck added that Australia downfall did not began just yesterday and hailed India for notching up win even without a few key players.

“Empires cannot be felled with a single blow. Rather it takes a concerted campaign conducted by opponents of high calibre capable of winning at home and on foreign fields. India have met that challenge, and not even the absence of three important players stopped them securing a decisive victory,” he said.

As Ashes is looming, “Now the Australians need to regroup before the Ashes. By the look of things it’s going to be a hard slog,” Roebuck concluded.

‘Herald Sun’ is carried a report which posed seven questions before Ricky Ponting and his boys.

“Why have we lost three Tests in a row? Where has Michael Clarke’s form gone? What is wrong with the batting? Why are starts not being converted? Will Marcus North ever become consistent? What can be done about Nathan Hauritz? And is Brad Haddin really a better Ashes option than Tim Paine?,” it asked.

A newspaper headline summed up the mood in the country.

“Another defeat and another slide to mediocrity,” it said.

“It might be hard to swallow, but the cold fact is that Australia has dropped to the bottom half of the Test rankings table for the first time and sits alongside Pakistan, the West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh,” the report said.