Culture issue blown out of proportion: Ponting

Culture issue blown out of proportion: Ponting

Aussie hopes to guide Daredevils to IPL title this time

Culture issue blown out of proportion: Ponting

Former World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting was admittedly left "quite shocked" by the ball-tampering scandal but found the criticism of Australian cricket "out of proportion".

The scandal, which took place last month during the Cape Town Test, resulted in 12-month suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner and a nine-month ban for Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera working a piece of sandpaper on the ball. The controversy caused an uproar in Australia, before triggering widespread criticism of the country's cricketing culture. Ponting, though, begged to differ.

"As a past player and past captain, I was quite shocked to see what actually took place out on the field. But the cultural issue for me is really an interesting thing," Ponting, who is the new head coach of the Delhi Daredevils team told reporters on Thursday.

"Because if we wind the clock back just a couple of months, when Australia won the Ashes like they did, there was no talk about cultural problems or issues whatsoever. But I think a lot of times, cultural things can be blown out of proportion, when the reality inside the dressing room is completely different than what it is spoken about all the time. 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."

Ponting though was relieved the controversy has begun to die down with the trio deciding against contesting their bans. "The pleasing thing for me is that now it seems the issue is starting to come to an end. We hear this morning that David Warner also accepted his sanction, means all three guys have accepted the sanctions before them," he said.

"It's a good thing for cricket in Australia... 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."

The Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA) has questioned the severity of the sanctions, but Ponting said: "There's a very big picture there for the world game's sake and Cricket Australia, I think, have reacted to what the world game pretty much demanded," he said.

Past doesn't matter

Delhi Daredevils have had a disappointing journey of 10 yeas in Indian Premier League. But Ponting, who has had a successful IPL stint with Mumbai Indians said: "I don't care about the past. We have got a fresh group capable of winning the IPL. It is my job, management's as well as the players to give the best crack possible."

"I understand there is already a lot of talk about aggressive cricket just because I am the coach. Actually, we have not even spoken about it till now. Anyway, when you talk about aggression, you mean whatever you can do to win games. I have tried to be more motivational more than anything else."

Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir was excited to be back with Delhi Daredevils. "I started with Delhi and it is always great to come back to a place where you started. Hopefully we can win the title this time," he said.

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