Warne gives backing to Ponting ahead of Ashes

Shane Warne remains confident Ricky Ponting is the right man to lead Australia in the forthcoming Ashes and insists recent comments regarding the Tasmanian's field placings in India were "an observation, not an attack".

Warne expressed his surprise at tactics employed by Ponting when spinner Nathan Hauritz was bowling in the second Test in Bangalore, a match the hosts won by seven wickets.



Warne wrote on Twitter: "How the hell can Hauritz bowl to this field?? Feeling for Hauritz, terrible!! What are these tactics? Sorry Ricky but what are you doing?"



The comment caused a storm with some reports suggesting Warne was questioning Ponting's ability to lead the side against England, but the leg-spinner, who took 708 Test wickets in a wonderful career, is fully behind the 35-year-old.



He said on http://www.shanewarne.com: "Ricky, to me, is the right man to lead Australia for the Ashes. it's a great opportunity for him to show his leadership and captaincy skills.



"He also looks in super touch with the bat; I am sure he's going to fill his boots this summer.



"This Ashes series is going to be the biggest of his and the Australian team's career. I think Ricky is at his best when he shows his Tassie devil side, which is aggressive with a dash of flair."



Ponting was quick to respond to Warne's original tweet and claimed he didn't mind criticism as long as the person making it was "well informed".



Warne, however, is adamant there is no lingering bad blood between the pair.



He added: "My tweet about Ricky's fields was portrayed as a rift between myself and the Australian captain and journos have tried to start a slanging match between us; what rubbish.



"Commentators on the match, cricket journalists and even the Indian captain, MS Dhoni, have agreed with my tweet. It was an observation, not an attack!



"Never at any stage did I say or imply that Ricky's time as captain is up.



"Sometimes as a player, when things are going badly, we can all be a bit sensitive to comments that ex-players or commentators make, I know I have been over the years as well.



"Yes - Ricky was disappointed with my tweet and expressed his disappointment via SMS to which I replied "should I take you off the Christmas card list?



"My philosophy is - never lose your sense of humour in whatever you do!!!"



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