6 Aug 2009

Fans asked to stop booing Ponting

5:46 am on 6 August 2009

England cricket fans have been asked to stop jeering and respect Australia captain Ricky Ponting in the fourth Ashes test that starts at Headingley tomorrow night.

The Leeds venue is normally one of the more raucous cricket grounds in England but England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke has issued a plea to fans not to boo the record-breaking batsman.

In the match programme, Clarke says Ponting has earned the respect and courtesy of the crowd...the game may never see his like again, adding that supporters should respect both teams who have provided exciting batting and Herculean bowling efforts.

Ponting, who has scored more test runs than any other Australian and is third on the all-time list, was booed by sections of the crowd at the Edgbaston test which ended in a draw on Tuesday to leave England 1-nil up with two matches remaining.

However, in his column in The Daily Telegraph, Ponting played down the antics of England's so-called Barmy Army, calling them the best fans in the world.

He says he's been told that some people have been upset about the fact that some English fans were booing him, but he thought it was a terrific atmosphere to play in, and he loved every minute.

The Yorkshire Cricket Club have promised added security at the fourth test, particularly in the notorious West Stand where drunken fans have occasionally caused problems in the past.