Nearly three months after the infamous ball-tampering scandal, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that he couldn’t bring himself to watch the press conferences of the three Australian players involved in it.
Cricket Australia had imposed a one-year ban on Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner for their involvement in the disgraceful ball-tampering saga in Cape Town, while rookie opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
In the aftermath of the incident, Australian cricket team went through a stern public scrutiny with folks criticizing their team culture and win-at-all-costs attitude.
Ponting maintained that he’s never seen or heard anything suggesting a cultural problem within the camp during his brief coaching tenure with the team earlier this year.
“If you’d have asked me (then) what the culture of the Australian cricket team was I would have told you it was outstanding,” Ponting quoted as saying by news.com.au.
However, Ponting conceded that there might be some issues he was unaware of that led to this debacle during an unpleasant series against the Proteas.
“I have been a spectator for the last five years and not been in the (Test) dressing room. I just know from being a captain, little things start happening and if you don’t deal with them when they happen they turn into bigger things,” Ricky said.
“Maybe over the last few years there have been enough little things around Australian cricket and they have turned into things that are catastrophic which is what happened in South Africa,” he elaborated.
Ponting, who has led Australia in two World Cup triumphs, also hoped that the convicted players will come back stronger.
“I was shocked. To be honest I didn’t watch any of the press conferences. I was better off taking myself away from it all. I understood the enormity of it all. I was being stopped in the street and being asked on a daily basis by 70-year-old women, ‘What’s going on with the Australian cricket team?’” Ricky remarked.
“The less I know the better. I have some feelings for the boys involved and hope they are OK and we see them back in Australian colours,” he added.
Ponting is currently part of the Australian coaching staff for the limited-overs tour to England. He is assisting the head coach Justin Langer, who replaced Darren Lehmann following the ball-tampering fiasco.
“Being on a tour of England you often get four hours on the bus with the boys and I will be able to talk cricket. I love doing it. I know there are a lot of young guys there that love to talk cricket. That’s what I am here for,” Ricky Ponting concluded.