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Ponting defends ‘very good, very strong’ Australia team culture

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Former captain Ricky Ponting has leapt to the defence of Australia’s team culture and believes some accusations have been blown out of proportion.

Just months after the ball-tampering scandal in Newlands, which led to a wider condemnation of the Australia cricket team’s ethics and culture, this week Cricket Australia asked for further details on claims from England’s Moeen Ali that he was called “Osama” by an Australian player during his Ashes bow in 2015.

“A lot of stuff’s been made about the culture around the team on the back of the one issue in South Africa,” Ponting told Fox Sports Australia. There wasn’t anything spoken about the culture of the team before that, really.

"Australia are the only team I’ve played against my whole life that I’ve actually disliked"

Moeen Ali: ‘Australia are the only team I’ve played against that I’ve actually disliked’

“Yes, there might have been a few little occasions where things got out of hand and a little over the top, but you can do everything right for 10 years and have one little incident and it’s back to the ugly Aussies.

“Australian cricket has been fighting that label for 30 or 40 years. I’ve been around the team a fair bit since the Australian summer last year with the T20 triangular series (in New Zealand) and the five one-dayers in England. The culture of the Australian cricket team has always been very, very good and very strong.”

However, the Australia legend is confident that under the guidance of new coach and captain, Justin Langer and Tim Paine, the “ugly Aussies” tag could soon be put to bed.

Australia are missing their two of their best batsmen and their three first-choice pacers

Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer during an Australia training session

“I can guarantee you with Justin being in control now and the people he will have around him and Tim Paine being captain, things will be vastly different going forward,” he said.

Ponting believes Test newbie Aaron Finch should open the batting in Pakistan and expects a new-look Australia to claim honours in the two-match away series.

“I was a bit critical last week of some of the selections, but let’s just hope whatever team they put on the park will be very competitive, and I’d like to think they would be,” he said.

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