Australian captain Ricky Ponting says he returned fire at an abusive fan at Edgbaston in the latest incident of ugly crowd behaviour in the Ashes series.
The incident happened last Friday after Ponting was dismissed for 38 in the opening session of day two of the third Ashes Test.
His confrontation with a spectator was picked up by SkySports television cameras but commentator Nasser Hussain said in his newspaper column it was not televised as it involved swearing from both men.
“There were some words exchanged. The spectator actually leaned over in front of the grandstand and actually gave me a bit of a gobful when I got out the other day,” Ponting said.
“As it turned out he was later thrown out of the ground so it would appear that he is probably in the wrong with what he did.”
Ponting has been cast as public enemy No.1 in the past two Tests at Lord’s and Edgbaston, being heavily jeered and booed to and from the crease.
The Lord’s crowd took great delight in the countless replays of him dropping a simple catch at the home of cricket while his counterpart Andrew Strauss’s drop at Birmingham was barely sighted on the big screen.
The man at the centre of the controversy also had a crack at the security at the ground.
“It is probably a security thing more than anything else,” Ponting said.
“As you saw where we had to walk on and off the other day was very close to the vicinity of where there was a lot of spectators.
“So if there is one place in the world a security guy should have been standing it was right there, where that spectator was sitting.
“So it could have been avoided.
“It has been well-documented over the past few weeks that I have probably copped a bit from the crowd in different shapes and forms.
“It was not a big deal at all.
“It was a few words he directed at me on the way off that I didn’t think needed to happen.”
Hussain was disgusted with the behaviour of the fan in Birmingham and expressed fears for the behaviour of the crowd at Headingley’s Western Terrace in the fourth Ashes Test starting Friday.
“Now, what sort of idiot would behave in that way towards the Australia captain?,” he wrote in The Daily Mail.
“That’s what I mean about football-type behaviour and, unfortunately Headingley, in particular the Western Terrace, is more like a football ground than any other cricket venue in England.”
But Ponting was keen to play down the issue and went to great lengths to express the Australians had no problems with the local crowds.
“It is no bigger deal in this series than anywhere else in the world to tell you the truth,” he said.
“I have enjoyed the spectator participation in this series. The Barmy Army as I have always said I think are the best group of sports supporters I have seen in the world.”