London: England fans have been asked to stop jeering and respect Australia captain Ricky Ponting in the fourth Ashes Test that starts at Headingley on Friday.
The Leeds venues is normally one of the more raucous cricket grounds in England but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke issued a plea to fans not to boo the record-breaking batsman.
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"(Ponting) has earned the respect and courtesy of the crowd...the game may never see his like again," Clarke said in the match programme, before 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 Monday to leave England 1-0 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.
"I'm told that some people have been upset about the fact that some English fans were booing me, but I thought it was a terrific atmosphere to play in, and I loved every minute," Ponting said.Yuvraj defends cricketers' opposition to WADA
"I have said for a long time that the Barmy Army are the best sporting crowd in the world. I don't care what sport you are talking about, or what country - they are unbelievably good supporters. There is never anything untoward, it is always good light-hearted stuff, and when England have a sniff of winning the volume goes up tenfold. They add a lot to the whole experience of the Ashes."
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.