Updated: April 6, 2018 9:10:53 am
Something is overtly rotten with Australian cricket. That’s the line taken by a majority of former cricketers, coaches, media and the public at large with regard to the two defining instances in the series against South Africa — the football style bust-up and ball tampering. They argued that this episode was a direct culmination of the win-at-all-costs attitude that had festered within Australian cricket.
Mickey Arthur, the former Australian coach and the first non-Australian to coach the national team had often termed his team’s behaviour as ‘boorish with scant respect for the opposition.’ For an outsider, he was commissioned to bring about a systematic change in this culture. But Arthur in his three-year tenure was not able to rein in this perceptible rot.
On Thursday, Ricky Ponting, the former Australian captain gave a contrarian view when asked about his opinion on the events that had transpired in South Africa last month. He insisted that the criticism (of Australia’s cricketing culture) is grossly exaggerated.
“The cultural issue for me is an interesting thing. Because if we wind the clock back just a couple of months, when Australia won the Ashes like they did, there was no talks about cultural problems or issues, whatsoever…I honestly feel on this occasion the cultural stuff that’s been spoken about has probably been blown out of proportion to a certain degree,” he offered.
Ponting said that the only pleasing outcome from this incident was that all the three cricketers officially accepted the sanctions. “All these three guys have accepted their sanctions. So the pleasing thing to note is that it’s coming to an end. It’s a good thing for cricket in Australia. The guys can take time away from the game, regroup and chalk out the road map ahead,” he explained.
His comments comes after David Warner had said that he would challenge the 12-month ban imposed on him by CA. However, like the ardent Australian cricket fan, Ponting admitted he was extremely disappointed at the events that were played out in South Africa. “When I was back in Australia a week and a half ago, if you think it was big news out over here, it was astronomical how big an issue it was in Australia and rightly so. We as Australians like to play the game hard and fair and our fans expect Australian players to play that way,” he said
Going forward, the 43-year-old reckoned that the time was ideal for the team to begin their transition after the systematic collapse the team has witnessed over the fortnight.
Following the emotional exit of the incumbent coach Darren Lehmann, there have been talks that Justin Langer was poised to take over the reins . However, in this transitional phase, CA could also do very well with the services of the Tasmanian.
Ponting, after all, is the one of the most sought after cricketing brains for the various T20 franchises around the world. His stock as a coach has only soared after he played a key role in streamling the rather inconsistent Mumbai Indians to their title win in the 2015 edition of IPL. His dynamic and a motivational approach has won him admirers from several quarters. Having said that, it remains to be seen if Ponting indeed accepts the role as Australia’s coach, which would mean spending long periods away from his young family.
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