|Player:||IT Botham, RT Ponting|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 8th August 2009
Legendary English all-rounder Ian Botham took strong exception to ECB's idea of stifling Barmy Army's expression against the Australian team.
He said that sans the support that these fans show stadiums would have a "sterile atmosphere".
"There's been a lot of chat about fans getting stuck into the Aussies in the Test matches - it's called home advantage," Botham wrote in his column in 'Daily Mirror' today.
"What do people expect from the crowd? They are England fans and it is fair to expect them to be with the home team and against the away team. That's the same everywhere around the world.
"Each crowd has their own way of going about it. Telling the England fans to keep a lid on their songs and banter is like telling the Indian fans to keep it quiet when Sachin Tendulkar walks out to bat or hits a boundary," he said.
"What you don't want is a sterile atmosphere. Who wants to see it go too far the other way and have a ground with no atmosphere? It would be like playing football behind closed doors - rubbish," Botham said.
The former Englishmen also did not agreed to the point being made that the fans were erring in the ongoing Ashes and that Ponting was bothered by them.
"Ricky Ponting couldn't care one iota whether some fan gives him a boo when he goes out to bat, you'll find he's got much more on his plate to worry about than that.
"The booing isn't a massive issue because I don't think it is malicious. Ponting is one of the greats and it could well be the last time any of us get to see him bat on our shores and that is something to bear in mind.
"If it got to be serious abuse then that's not something to tolerate, but I don't think there has been much wrong at all this summer," he said.
"By and large the fans are well behaved and they should be applauded for supporting the side as well as they do. The fans are there to enjoy themselves. They pay their money to go and watch the cricket and with that comes a bit of banter which makes for a cracking atmosphere," he added.