International cricket needs a strong Pak team: Ponting

World cricket plunged into its deepest-ever crisis last month after spot-fixing allegations led to the suspension of three Pakistani players -- Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir.

Ponting said the governing body needs to clean up the mess quickly to ensure that the credibility of the game doesn't take a bigger hit.

"ICC should get to the bottom of the allegations. But it won't be wise a decision to keep Pakistan out of international cricket because it will have a bigger impact on other things," Ponting said during a press conference here ahead of the first Test against India starting October 1 in Mohali.

The Aussie skipper spot-fixing allegations being talked here ahead of a major series was indicaiton enough of how serious the issue is.

On Pakistan Cricket Board hitting back at the ICC and the England Cricket Board, Ponting refused comment saying that the investigations were going on and the image of the game has taken a "battering".

He, however, said that "we are here to play best brand of cricket" and hoped the game's image would improve.

Asked if any Aussie player had been approached by any bookie in the past, Ponting said, "the Australian team is very well educated on that side. We haven't been approached by anyone. We are briefed very well by our team management from time to time."

Ponting, who does not have a very good personal record in India, said he would be aiming to improve that and take some positives from the two-match series ahead of the Ashes and next year's World Cup.

On Yuvraj's exclusion from the Indian Test team, Ponting said the hosts still have good players in their middle-order.

Australia-India series have traditionally been stormy affairs in the past with off-field controversies grabbing headlines as much as the hard-fought cricket.

Ponting said the rivalry has built over the years and as long as players don't cross the line, some banter only adds zing to the contests.

"(It's ok) as long as players play in the right spirit and play the best brand of cricket," he said.

On the Mohali track, Ponting felt it is one of the best grounds in India, which offers reasonable pace and bounce.

Asked about Australia issuing a travel advisory warning of terror attacks in Delhi during the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Ponting denied comment merely stating that he was satisfied with the security arrangements here.

"During our tours we are regularly briefed as far as security issues are concerned. We are satisfied with the security arrangements here," he said.

Australia would play a three-day practice match against a Gautam Gambhir-led Board President' s XI at Chandigarh from September 25.

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