In the wake of the ball-tampering scandal which has engulfed the Aussie Test team, former captain Ricky Ponting has broken cover to defend his nation’s cricketing culture.
Cricket Australia has imposed the heaviest of sanctions to avoid a repeat of the skullduggery surrounding the third Test in Cape Town, usurping the ICC’s paltry one-match ban for captain Steve Smith with a 12-month worldwide ban.
The same has been meted out to vice-captain David Warner whilst perpetrator Cameron Bancroft has been banned for nine months.
And despite being found to have no knowledge of the trio’s plan, coach Darren Lehmann has resigned as an independent review into the “conduct and culture” of the team is ordered by CA.
For 'Sandpapergate' is the culmination of a long-standing culture within the dressing room, according to Lehmann’s predecessor, Mickey Arthur.
Coach from 2011-2013, Arthur has labelled the behaviour of the Aussie team as “boorish and arrogant” and indicated the review is long overdue amidst suspicions of similar wrongdoing during the Ashes.
In the meantime, Lehmann’s position remains unfilled with calls made for Ponting to step into the breach.
Having purposely kept quiet on the subject, the coach of the Delhi Daredevils IPL side, Ponting, has finally broken his silence on the biggest scandal to hit Australian cricket.
“This is the first time I have actually answered a single question about what’s happened in South Africa over the last couple of weeks," he said, per IOL.
“At the end of the day, as a past player and as a former captain, I was obviously quite shocked to see what actually took place out there on the field.
“We in Australia like to play the game hard and we like to play the game fair, and our fans expect Australian players play that way,” Ponting added.
“I think the reaction back in Australia was as big as it was because I think the Australian public felt the Australian players hadn’t played the game in a fair way.
“The cultural issue for me is what is a really interesting thing, because when you wound the clock back just a couple of months when Australia won the Ashes, there was no talk about cultural problems or issues whatsoever.
“So I think a lot of times these cultural things get blown out of proportion, and get spoken about a lot when the reality of the dressing room is completely different from what is actually spoken about all the time."
Ponting didn't comment on the speculation he could replace Lehmann as head coach but it's fair to say there will be plenty of interested observers of the Daredevils' progress in this year's IPL tournament.
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