Ricky Ponting says Australia’s ‘team culture thing’ blown out of proportion in ball-tampering row
Ricky Ponting, the former Australia skipper, justified the punishments for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for the scandal which erupted during the Test series in South Africa.cricket Updated: Apr 05, 2018 17:46 IST
Ricky Ponting said Australian cricket was moving in the right direction with the fallen trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft accepting sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia and the uproar surrounding the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa finally dying down.
However, the former Australia skipper defended the hyped Australian culture of playing ‘fair and hard’ as he felt it was blown out of proportion in this particular case.
“At the end of the day, as a past player and past captain, I must be honest I was quite shocked to see what took place. The pleasing thing for me is that the issue is starting to come to an end,” said Ponting in his first comments on the issue at a media interaction here as Delhi Daredevils coach on Thursday.
“We heard this morning that David Warner had also accepted the sanctions Cricket Australia had put on him, so all three guys have accepted the sanctions. So, it seems like it’s 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 as 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.
“It’s starting to come to an end and that’s a good thing for the game’s sake and the players’ sake as well as they can try and get away from it. It’s also a good thing for cricket in Australia. 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.”
Ponting stressed that playing aggressively meant doing ‘whatever it takes to win’ but he refused to believe that the Australian team culture was to be blamed for what happened during the Cape Town Test. “The cultural thing is a bit of an interesting thing. Because 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,” he said.
“I think a lot of times these ‘cultural things’ can be blown out of proportion. The reality inside the dressing room is completely different from what is actually spoken about all the time. I honestly feel on this occasion the cultural stuff has been blown out of proportion.”
He also indicated that Australia had dealt with the situation more than adequately by handing a quantum of punishment that is much more than what the world body had prescribed. “Cricket Australia has reacted to what the world has demanded. The world game and the Australian people demanded that these players were dealt with 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.”