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Ricky Ponting finally weighs in on ‘astronomical’ ball-tampering scandal

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former captain Ricky Ponting believes Australian cricket is now moving in the right direction after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft this week accepted the sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia.

With the media circus surrounding the ball-tampering incident beginning to retreat, the Australia batting great has defended the culture of the side that he feels has been blown out of proportion.

Former coach Darren Lehmann talks to assistant coach Ricky Ponting during a T20I at the SCG

“As a past player and captain, I was quite shocked to see what took place,” said the Delhi Daredevils coach in his first comments on the issue at a media event in India on Thursday. “The pleasing thing for me is that the issue is starting to come to an end.

“When I was at home, it was astronomical how big an issue it was in Australia, and rightly so. We Australians like to play the game hard and we like to play the game fair. Fans expect the team to play that way. And I think the reaction back in Australia was as big as it was because the Australian public felt they hadn’t played the game in a fair way.

“Now that the series is over, the players have a few weeks to get away from it all and start rebuilding what has collapsed over the last couple of weeks.”

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, co-owner of Mumbai Indians Akash Ambani and Delhi Dare Devils coach Ricky Ponting during IPL 2018 Player Auction

Ponting refused to believe that the Australian team culture was to blame for what occurred during the Cape Town Test, insisting that “the cultural stuff has been blown out of proportion … If you wind the clock back a couple of months when Australia won the Ashes, there was no talk of cultural problems or issues whatsoever.”

Ponting believes CA have dealt with a difficult situation but is still puzzled by the distance between Australia’s governing body and the world governing body of cricket.

“Cricket Australia has reacted to what the world has demanded,” he added. “The world game and the Australian people demanded that these players were dealt with in a certain way.

“It would appear a 12-month ban is severe. The ICC sanction was one game only on Steve Smith and nothing on the other two, so we understand that nine months for Bancroft and 12 months for the other two is a vast gap between what ICC deemed fair.”

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