Melbourne:In a statement that has the potential to trigger a bitter row, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori has labelled his Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting as the most "overtly aggressive" player in world cricket and who is always "spoiling for a fight".
Vettori says he was not surprised when the Australians got embroiled in the 'monkeygate' scandal against India as Ponting is always "spoiling for a fight" on the field.
"If a team was going to play the game hard and stand up to everything the Aussies hurled at them, there was going to be trouble," Vettori wrote in his new book, 'Turning Point', extracts of which came out in the 'Melbourne Herald Sun'.
"I don't think many of us were surprised about the so-called 'Monkeygate' affair. There are always a few individuals in every team who overstate their position or overplay their importance.
"Ponting led his team very aggressively and probably hasn't often had to face an opposition team that's been just as aggressive in response," he added.
Vettori said Ponting foul-mouths the opposition so often that it always ends up creating bad blood on the field.
"Add to the mix Matthew Hayden and Symonds - who are always at you on the field - and you've probably got the three most overtly aggressive players in world cricket.
"They like to get under the skin of their opponents, whereas the other guys in the Aussie team just get on with the game," he pointed out.
Vettori recalled how Ponting blew a minor incident during his team's previous tour Down Under into a major controversy by giving provocative statements to the local media.
"There was another incident with Ponting after we said a few things to Brad Haddin when we believed he was running on the wicket," Vettori said.
"There were a few heated words exchanged and when I later went to the press conference an Australian reporter asked me whether something had happened in the middle and I remember saying, 'Not really. It's just guys running on the wicket but that happens in every single game of cricket'.
"That seemed fine but Ponting, as was the case with his treatment of the Indians, seemed to be spoiling for a fight and the next day we had to read a blow-by-blow account in the papers of his version," he recalled.
The bespectacled Kiwi urged Ponting to mend his ways and learn to leave minor issues on the field.
"Personally, I've always been a person who thinks that disputes, altercations and even just conversations should stay on the field and that you should never let them go too far," he said.