Ricky Ponting shocked following Smith and Bancroft interviews

South Africa v Australia - 3rd Test: Day 3

It's been nine months since the ball-tampering saga involving three players from the Australian cricket team, but the controversy still hangs over the squad and the cheating trio like a black cloud.

Back in March of this year, during the third Test match against South Africa, Cameron Bancroft was caught by live television cameras attempting to roughen one side of the ball with sandpaper in order to effect the ball's swing.

Australian captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were also found to be involved and have since been serving playing bans, as well as leadership bans for at least 12 months.

Both Smith and Bancroft have recently given interviews about their involvement in the ball-tampering episode, which also saw Australian cricket head coach Darren Lehmann step down from the role.

Following the interviews, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has weighed in on the interviews and the scandal itself, speaking with Cricket network he admitted to being "quite shocked" about the interviews with the two guilty players being aired, but added he doesn't think the saga will interfere with the preparation of the current side.

Interestingly, Ponting also thinks Smith will make a return to the captaincy one day.

Smith and Bancroft were interviewed separately by former vice-captain Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket and were broadcast on Boxing Day ahead of Australia's third Test against India getting underway.

Ponting questioned why the interviews were aired yesterday, given that the media storm surrounding the current series that is already at 'fever pitch'.

"From a wholly journalistic approach, you can understand the reasons why it was aired today," as per cricket.com.au.

"You’ve probably got a big percentage of the population watching the cricket today and they’ll be reading about it tomorrow. I can understand how that could happen.

"I’m not sure how happy the players would be about it or Cricket Australia, because it’s a pretty special moment in Australian cricket on a day like today. So, we’ll see what the reaction is.

"I’ve seen a couple of headlines (since the interviews), which I’ve been shocked at, I must admit. Some of the things that have been said have been quite shocking to me.

"We’re nine months on from this stuff and there’s still a lot being spoken about what happened in Cape Town."

South Africa v Australia - 3rd Test: Day 3

On Smith's return, Ponting added: "I think he will come back into the captaincy.

"He’s owned up about what his leadership failures were, and he’s been pretty open with that over the last week.

"I’m able to forgive after he serves his penalty. It’s a pretty hefty penalty to have 12 months on the sidelines, let alone the financial side of it.

"What he’s had to say, I think he’ll come back a much better person and a much better leader because of what’s happened."

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