Reacting for the first time on the ball-tampering scandal, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Thursday said that issue seems to be resolving after the tainted trio--Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft--accepted the sanctions imposed on them. The Australian great was shocked at first on learning about the controversial incident which led to heft bans being imposed on the trio.
Smith, along with former vice-captain David Warner, was barred from all international and domestic cricket for a year, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months by Cricket Australia for their roles in an attempt to scuff the ball during the third Test of the recently-concluded four-match series against South Africa.
Reflecting on the same, Australia's two-time World Cup winning skipper Ponting said that he was taken aback when the news broke out, but added that he is pleased to see the controversy is finally dying down.
"As a past player, as a past captain I was quite shocked to see what actually took place there on the field. It was not at all pleasing thing for me. Now, it seems like the whole issue is starting coming to an end. We hear this morning David Warner has also accepted his sanction that Cricket Australia imposed on him. So, it means all three guys have accepted the sanctions before them. So, it seems that it has started to come to an end," Ponting said.
Following the footsteps of Australian skipper Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft, former Australian vice-captain David Warner had earlier today accepted his 12-month suspension levelled on him.
The three erring cricketers were earlier given time till April 11 to decide whether to appeal against the Cricket Australia penalties or not.
Ponting, who is the head coach of the Delhi Daredevils team in the upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), further insisted that Australian players have failed to meet their fans' expectation by opting for unfair means in the game.
He, however, added that as the Test series against South Africa is over, the Australian team could now focus on rebuilding themselves as a team.
"If you think it was a big news here, it was an astronomical issue in Australia and rightly so. We as Australian loved to play the game hard, like to play the game fair and our fans expect the Australian players play that way. I think the reaction back in Australia was as big as the issue was because the fans had felt that the Australian players had not played the game in a fair way," he said.
"Now, it seems things are coming to an end and that is a good thing for the game sake and it is good for the players' sake as well. But it is a good thing for Cricket Australia as well. Now that the Test series is over, the guys have got a few weeks to get away from it all and then start rebuilding what has sort of collapsed for them over the last couple of weeks," Ponting added.
The 11th edition of the IPL is slated to begin from April 7. Delhi Daredevils will begin their campaign against Kings XI Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on April 8.
(With ANI Inputs)