Ponting Spurred on by Boo-boys

  • By: Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport
  • Last Updated: August 6 2009, 10:15 BST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting is happy to be booed by English crowds - because it means he is in form.

Ricky Ponting - boo-boys spur him on.

Ponting was jeered on his way to the wicket during last week's third Ashes Test draw at Edgbaston, much to the horror of traditionalists.

The incident has turned the spotlight on supporters' behaviour ahead of Friday's fourth Test at Headingley - a venue with a reputation for boisterousness - but Ponting is unconcerned.

The 34-year-old, who became Australia's leading Test runscorer in the draw at Birmingham, said: "I've been speaking to a few English journalists about it and they've said they've been disappointed with it.

"For me it comes with the territory of being an Australian cricket captain in this part of the world.

"There's not much I can do about it, I'll just take it with a grain of salt.

"I've expected it to happen, it's no skin off my nose. If anything it just makes me more determined to play well.

"I haven't thought anything about it, it doesn't worry me one bit.

"I'll keep leading the team and play as well as I can. If I actually play well I get booed more so hopefully I get booed more."

England lead the series 1-0 with just the matches at Leeds and The Oval later in the month to come.

The tourists need only draw the series to retain the Ashes but a final score of 1-1 would cost Ponting's side top spot in the world ratings with South Africa supplanting them.

A series defeat could even see the Aussies slip as low as fourth but Ponting insists the top ranking is of no concern.

He said: "It means nothing to us as a team. That's a thing that's happened as the result of some long sustained periods of very good cricket that we've played.

"Never is it mentioned around the group, never is it mentioned in team meetings because at the end of the day all we can control is our performances and those things look after themselves.

"Never would I put a team ranking over winning the series."

Ponting's comments come after the game's lawmakers, the MCC, revealed they were examining different ways of staging a world Test championship, which could include a knockout-style tournament.

Meanwhile, Ponting has also expressed his sympathy for fellow Australian Simon Taufel, arguably the game's most respected umpire.

The International Cricket Council's policy of using neutral umpires means Taufel has been unable to stand in many of the sport's biggest games in recent years because they have often featured Australia.

Ponting said: "I know he's been disappointed over the years that he hasn't been able to umpire us because we've had a lot of success as a team.

"We've had World Cup finals and that sort of thing and he hasn't been able to umpire those.

"The guy that's been recognised as the best umpire in the world isn't actually able to umpire the big events which for him as an umpire I'm sure would be disappointing.

"I'd like to think though that any guy on that elite panel will be good enough to do a great job in a Test match or a Test series."

Ponting added that he would not have an issue with an English umpire standing in the current Ashes series.