Tufnell provokes Ponting

Former England bowler Phil Tufnell has fired back at the Australian cricket team for lacking a "sense of humour" in relation to comments of his aired at the Allan Border Medal ceremony on Monday night.

Members of the Australian cricket team took exception to the now television personality's jibes about incidents in last year's Ashes Test series.

Tufnell made light of Shane Warne dropping Kevin Pietersen in the final match at The Oval when the Ashes was in the balance, and lambasted Ricky Ponting's decision to bowl first after winning the toss in Edgbaston – a game Australia lost.

Ponting in particular, the winner of Australian cricket's highest individual award at the ceremony, was "disappointed" with the fact that Tufnell's sledging skit was aired during such an important national cricket event.

"We just looked at each other (Australian teammates) and you could see it touched a soft spot with everybody," Ponting said earlier this week.

"I probably wouldn't have minded so much if it had been someone who had actually taken part in the series.

"But for someone who has never really done anything against Australia any game he ever played, it was a little bit hard to swallow.

"At our night - the Australian cricket team's night of nights for the whole year - I didn't think the timing was that good.

"If we needed any extra motivation for this year's Ashes series, Phil Tufnell has given it to us right there."

But Tufnell, in a direct retaliation to the Australian captain's grievances, said that Ponting needs to lighten up.

"I can't believe some of the Aussies can have such a lack of sense of humour over these comments," Tufnell, who retired in 2001, told PA Sports.

"Ricky clearly is still hurt and no doubt kicking himself in part for his woeful decision at Edgbaston.

"After about 12 years of pain and defeat at the hands of the Aussies as a player, and hearing various wisecracks and jokes at my and my teammates' expense, I felt it was about time to give the Aussies back some of their own medicine."

Warne, who was named Australia's Test player of the year at the award ceremony, took Tufnell's observations more lightly than his captain, but predicted the former spinner would have to choke on his words.

"He was trying to be funny but he's the one we'll probably look back at next year and I bet we'll be laughing at him like we did tonight," Warne said.

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