Australia news October 22, 2013

Ponting moves on from Monkeygate

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Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has drawn a firm line underneath the Monkeygate scandal of 2008, stating that he cleared any remaining tension with Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble during his IPL stint with the Mumbai Indians this year.

The Australian release of Ponting's autobiography, At the Close of Play, has exhumed the five-year-old wounds of the affair. Ponting's ire was raised firmly in the direction of Cricket Australia for its compromises and collusion with the BCCI, but there has been some suggestion of lingering enmity between Ponting and the three central Indian players concerned.

Kumble has said it is "important to move on" from events that did not cast any of its characters in a favourable light, while offering the rejoinder that "if you really want to know what happened, you have to wait for my book". For his part, Ponting said his relationship with Tendulkar, Kumble and Harbhajan had been largely rehabilitated by sharing the Mumbai dressing room, pointing out that any real discord would have made his presence in the team untenable.

"I had to captain Harbhajan and Sachin, and Anil was the mentor/coach. They wouldn't have had me there if that (Monkeygate) hadn't passed over," Ponting told ESPNcricinfo. "And Anil hasn't said anything about being angry or anything like that, it's just about moving on and 'wait until my book'.

"I didn't have any problem with them. Sachin was trying to look after his mate and changed his story a couple of times to suit. Harbhajan was the one there was a problem with, but we got to Mumbai, looked each other in the eye and shook hands and said we'll make this work for the next couple of months. That's well and truly gone."

What has not left Ponting is his discontent with how CA failed to support their players in a case that left the victim of abuse, Andrew Symonds, painted as a villain. Duly disillusioned, he drifted from the game via a series of disciplinary problems, a loss Ponting still felt angered by.

"The worst of it all was the impact it had on Symmo (Symonds)," Ponting wrote. "I had tried to protect him from most of what was going on in the lead-up to the hearing, but when it was done I reckon it took the wind out of his sails. In many ways Symmo was gone from this moment on and it still makes me angry."

As maddening for Ponting were the political machinations around the appeal, with India's threat to fly home given far more importance by CA than the defence of one of their own players. While engaged in many meetings during the Adelaide Test match that immediately preceded the appeal hearing in the South Australian capital's Federal Court Building, he was unaware of numerous other events, including the sight of Tendulkar arriving on the morning of the appeal in the company of CA's then chairman, Creagh O'Connor.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jay57870 on October 25, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Tendulkar is respected worldwide for his integrity, humility & character. Even in OZ-Land! Don't forget he was bestowed the prestigious Order of Australia honour!!

  • sharidas on October 24, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    It seems absurd that Symonds drifted out of Cricket because of this one incident. While as a player, he was fantastic, he also had disciplinary problems, which was why he went out of top class cricket. Nothing more than a mountain made out of a mole hill.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 24, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    CA is a gutless organisation under Sutherland and the other countries love it! The other countries run all over Aussie players because they know Aussie players cop sledging without comment because they hand it out. When they go after Aussie players off field they do it in the sure knowledge that Cricket Australia will not allow contracted players to comment - therefore defend accusations. Similarly during Ponting's captaincy we saw him frustrated with the complete lack of back up from CA when other countries reneged on mutually agreed playing conditions like accepting a fielders word for a low catch, no specialist sub fielders and the total disgrace in Symonds racial abuse case. Those overarching playing conditions are non negotiable for Australian contracted players to adhere to and it's a disgrace that CA & Sutherland don't back their players up when others break those condition. It's a pattern throughout Sutherland's reign.

  • on October 24, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    @LillianThomson, is it true? then why there was standing ovation every time Sachin entered the stadiums in 2011 tour when the incident happened in 2008 ? At least in my eyes, I saw the the love and respect from the Aus public...may be you live in a different world

  • jay57870 on October 24, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    Now Ricky is raking up the ugly Bhajji-Symmo spat by questioning (of all) Sachin's role in it? Wrong man to pick on! Peter rightly called Bhajji an "irritating young man" but empathised: "an intemperate Sikh warrior overreacts & his rudeness seized upon" by Aussie provocation. He charged: "All the Australian elders want to do is to hunt him from the game"! The last straw: Ponting filed a complaint despite a pact with Anil Kumble that they'd handle such issues themselves without game officials. Only one side played in the spirit of the game, proclaimed Kumble. Roebuck fumed: "Australia itself has been embarrassed"! Not to mention the atrocious umpiring blunders (Bucknor & Benson) & the match referee's one-sided inquiry (Procter): Bhajji got a 3-Test ban; later reduced to a fine by an outside judge. Alas, the guilty provocateurs got away - notably Symonds & Ponting! A repeat offender, Ricky lacks credibility & intelligibility in his utterances! Mea culpa! How can he move on, Daniel?

  • jay57870 on October 24, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    Time heals, but it also erodes memories. The truth is lost in his rewriting of events. So let's revisit the day after the infamous SCG 2008 Test to find the naked & cold truth. Reputed journalist (late) Peter Roebuck captured it fresh in The Sydney Morning Herald: "Arrogant Ponting must be fired"! Peter called it as he saw it: "Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years"! He reprimanded CA for tolerating such "arrogant & abrasive conduct" by the captain & senior players!

  • on October 23, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    @samincolumbia Your assertion that there was a conspiracy does not make it true. It's an unfounded assertion with no basis in fact for which you can produce no evidence.

  • Chris_P on October 23, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @Rooboy. Yep, you nailed it. Spineless effort by CA at the time with more than a few of the Indian team doing themselves a great dis-service. Unlike Lorgat, CA rolled over. Of course Punter would have cleared it up, we all move on, but it still sticks with a few people about the overall incident.

  • cnksnk on October 23, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    It is good that all involved have moved on. That is why they say 'time is the best healer'. The one direct fall out was that the Aussies lost some of the aggression. 'Mental degradation', aka sledging seems to have come down. I am sure there is still some banter on the field but you dont have hear the Aussies or for that matter wearing it with pride any longer. I am not too sure if this was the last straw on the camels back a far as Symmo was concerned. He any way had a number of run ins with the team for indiscipline viz going fishing during practice, turning up drunk for practice etc. Shame though as he was a great talent. In an earlier interview Ponting had mentioned Kumble's comment of ' only one side was playing cricket' and was alluding to he fact that it was in relation to this incident. To the best of my knowledge it was because on the bumped ball catch and the great picture of Pontng declaring the batsmen out and less due to the Bajji, Symmo incident.

  • on October 23, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Has anyone noticed that almost everyone involved in this issue - from Symonds, Ponting, Gilchrist, Haydos to Bhajji, Kumble, Ganguly, etc - have had a say on this issue numerous times. All along, Tendulkar has remained silent instead of presenting his point of view to defend himself. No wonder he commands so much respect around the whole world and has survived 24 years in International cricket with absolutely no controversy, scandal or anything!

    Anyways, good to know that they have moved on. Sachin and Ponting shall remain two of the best batsmen I have ever watched! :)

  • jay57870 on October 25, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Tendulkar is respected worldwide for his integrity, humility & character. Even in OZ-Land! Don't forget he was bestowed the prestigious Order of Australia honour!!

  • sharidas on October 24, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    It seems absurd that Symonds drifted out of Cricket because of this one incident. While as a player, he was fantastic, he also had disciplinary problems, which was why he went out of top class cricket. Nothing more than a mountain made out of a mole hill.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 24, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    CA is a gutless organisation under Sutherland and the other countries love it! The other countries run all over Aussie players because they know Aussie players cop sledging without comment because they hand it out. When they go after Aussie players off field they do it in the sure knowledge that Cricket Australia will not allow contracted players to comment - therefore defend accusations. Similarly during Ponting's captaincy we saw him frustrated with the complete lack of back up from CA when other countries reneged on mutually agreed playing conditions like accepting a fielders word for a low catch, no specialist sub fielders and the total disgrace in Symonds racial abuse case. Those overarching playing conditions are non negotiable for Australian contracted players to adhere to and it's a disgrace that CA & Sutherland don't back their players up when others break those condition. It's a pattern throughout Sutherland's reign.

  • on October 24, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    @LillianThomson, is it true? then why there was standing ovation every time Sachin entered the stadiums in 2011 tour when the incident happened in 2008 ? At least in my eyes, I saw the the love and respect from the Aus public...may be you live in a different world

  • jay57870 on October 24, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    Now Ricky is raking up the ugly Bhajji-Symmo spat by questioning (of all) Sachin's role in it? Wrong man to pick on! Peter rightly called Bhajji an "irritating young man" but empathised: "an intemperate Sikh warrior overreacts & his rudeness seized upon" by Aussie provocation. He charged: "All the Australian elders want to do is to hunt him from the game"! The last straw: Ponting filed a complaint despite a pact with Anil Kumble that they'd handle such issues themselves without game officials. Only one side played in the spirit of the game, proclaimed Kumble. Roebuck fumed: "Australia itself has been embarrassed"! Not to mention the atrocious umpiring blunders (Bucknor & Benson) & the match referee's one-sided inquiry (Procter): Bhajji got a 3-Test ban; later reduced to a fine by an outside judge. Alas, the guilty provocateurs got away - notably Symonds & Ponting! A repeat offender, Ricky lacks credibility & intelligibility in his utterances! Mea culpa! How can he move on, Daniel?

  • jay57870 on October 24, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    Time heals, but it also erodes memories. The truth is lost in his rewriting of events. So let's revisit the day after the infamous SCG 2008 Test to find the naked & cold truth. Reputed journalist (late) Peter Roebuck captured it fresh in The Sydney Morning Herald: "Arrogant Ponting must be fired"! Peter called it as he saw it: "Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years"! He reprimanded CA for tolerating such "arrogant & abrasive conduct" by the captain & senior players!

  • on October 23, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    @samincolumbia Your assertion that there was a conspiracy does not make it true. It's an unfounded assertion with no basis in fact for which you can produce no evidence.

  • Chris_P on October 23, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @Rooboy. Yep, you nailed it. Spineless effort by CA at the time with more than a few of the Indian team doing themselves a great dis-service. Unlike Lorgat, CA rolled over. Of course Punter would have cleared it up, we all move on, but it still sticks with a few people about the overall incident.

  • cnksnk on October 23, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    It is good that all involved have moved on. That is why they say 'time is the best healer'. The one direct fall out was that the Aussies lost some of the aggression. 'Mental degradation', aka sledging seems to have come down. I am sure there is still some banter on the field but you dont have hear the Aussies or for that matter wearing it with pride any longer. I am not too sure if this was the last straw on the camels back a far as Symmo was concerned. He any way had a number of run ins with the team for indiscipline viz going fishing during practice, turning up drunk for practice etc. Shame though as he was a great talent. In an earlier interview Ponting had mentioned Kumble's comment of ' only one side was playing cricket' and was alluding to he fact that it was in relation to this incident. To the best of my knowledge it was because on the bumped ball catch and the great picture of Pontng declaring the batsmen out and less due to the Bajji, Symmo incident.

  • on October 23, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Has anyone noticed that almost everyone involved in this issue - from Symonds, Ponting, Gilchrist, Haydos to Bhajji, Kumble, Ganguly, etc - have had a say on this issue numerous times. All along, Tendulkar has remained silent instead of presenting his point of view to defend himself. No wonder he commands so much respect around the whole world and has survived 24 years in International cricket with absolutely no controversy, scandal or anything!

    Anyways, good to know that they have moved on. Sachin and Ponting shall remain two of the best batsmen I have ever watched! :)

  • Abaa on October 23, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    @ samincolumbia:

    your last sentence contained the words "bullies got exposed" and "BCCI". I couldn't help but notice the irony there :-P It is true that the Aussies were arrogant and loud on the field but what the BCCI is doing off the field right now is a whole lot worse ...

  • Clavers on October 22, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Symonds is still only 38. With his physical talent he should still be playing the game. At the time that he was dropped he had been averaging 90 with the bat and 30 with the ball (bowling both seam-up and spin) in test cricket over the previous 12 months.

  • Number_5 on October 22, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    It think its important that all parties (fans) also move on from this ugly incident. To dwell only taints our love for the game and ability to enjoy good cricket no matter where you come from or what team you support. The game has not been the same since this incident and hopefully lessons have been learned, we know a precedence has been set at least. Fantastic to hear the players were able to move on (Punter, Sachin and Harbi) its just a pity Roy is the only one who seems to have been left out in the 'cold'. He was a talented cricketer who left the game to early.

  • akpy on October 22, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    so Lillian Thompson speaks for whole of australia, eh??

  • samincolumbia on October 22, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    @LillianThomson - There was a concerted and pre-meditated attempt, sanctioned by Ponting and Co. to target, harass, rile Harbharjan up, with Symonds the lead actor and Ponting the director pulling the strings from behind the scenes. When the mess hit the fan, it was only inevitable that the bullied turned the tables on the bullies, aka the Aussie cricket team. Irrespective of what Harbhajan said or did not say, it is sweet justice that the bullies got exposed and BCCI did exactly the right thing.

  • crick_sucks on October 22, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    @Lilian: so what was the australian order presented for?

  • Go_F.Alonso on October 22, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    @LillianThomson: It is unfair on the fans to simply take their respective players' word on exactly what was said and this applies to both sides. I'm open to the possibility of language being a barrier and what was said could easily have been misinterpreted by the Aussies but I refuse to take Harbhajan's side because the word he claims to have used is still abusive. A lot of Indians can't wait for Tendulkar to retire and never be heard of again ... but for different reasons than yours.

  • fguy on October 22, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    shows his character. he hid his true feelings for money (ipl contract), now he reveals his feelings for money (through his book sales). isn't there a word for people who'll do anything for money...?

  • heathrf1974 on October 22, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    I think a lot of the tension was due to cultural differences and misunderstandings. With regards to the Ponting catch I thought it was out at the time and did not know that rule.

  • dunger.bob on October 22, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    It may have been the blow up that we needed to have, If so, it's done.

    I don't think it's healthy to dwell too much on the past. For me, the present is far too interesting. We have a cracking ODI series going atm which is ultra competitive but controversy free so far. That's good enough for me and I'm going to focus on that.

  • yezdi70 on October 22, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @No_Excuses. Thats Hilarious. A man who has retired from cricket plays for experience? Really !

  • Shaggy076 on October 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Raj Sundararaman; So many Indian fans holding grudges, you were happy to get Ponting wrongly given out to bring Symonds to the crease but paint Symonds as the villain. There was 2 bad decisions one for each team, the way this game is painted by the Indian public is disgraceful as is the hounding of Steve Bucknor out of the game.

  • on October 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Ponting must shoulder some of the blame for what transpired. During the one day series in India during October 2007 when it was clear that a section of the crowd was making gestures and taunting Symonds, Ponting had no other option but to lead the Australian team off the field just like Illingworth led the English team off the field in 1970 for unacceptable crowd behaviour. Had he done so, the matter would have been resolved long before the Indian cricket team arrived in Australia.

  • on October 22, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    Lillian: We will never forgive or forget the Sydney test match of 2008 also. Symonds snicking one to the keeper and standing his ground (and to think the Aussies are crying foul at Stuart Broad), Michael Clarke snicking one to slip and waiting for the umpire's verdict, the picture of Ponting grounding the ball but still appealing for a catch - all these will be forever etched in many Indian fan's memory.People living in glass house should not be hurling stones!

  • No_Excuses on October 22, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Ponting didn't play in the IPL for money - he did it for the experience. He was estimated to make around $5 million per year while captain of Australia from CA payments and endorsements -the $200,000 he made playing IPL was loose change. Australian cricketers without central contracts would be keen to play in the IPL for the money as their income from domestic teams is around $200,000 per annum. Most senior Australian cricketers would be on $1,000,000 plus from CA.

  • LillianThomson on October 22, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Here in Australia we have never forgotten nor forgiven Tendulkar's changing evidence. The love and respect he enjoys everywhere else does not exist here - outside the Indian community - because every cricket lover knows what he did.

  • Craptastic on October 22, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Yeah exactly. Its over. Lets just hope that someone (anyone!) learnt a lesson from it

  • on October 22, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    BTW, Symonds also made 'truce' with Bhajji and Sachin and played a couple of years with Mumbai Indians. If Symonds was really gone after that how did he forgive everything that happened (even though it may have been CA's fault for not supporting their players). Bottom line, the money in IPL is way too much for these 'petty disputes' to linger on. The (money from) IPL is the reason why these guys made up with each other and out up at MI.

  • PrasPunter on October 22, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    good one @ReverseSweepIndia, a very very sane and wise comment from an indian fan ( I believe ). Let it go and move on.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on October 22, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    lets move over with it. At that time is was a very bad thing to happen. And worst out of it both sides thinks themselves as victim and other the oppressor. Ponting wrote a book before he joined MI and as he says he has buried all the hatchets, we should be fine with it too. More over Ponting is retired, so is Kumble, Sachin going to do next month and Bhajji out of favor with national selectors and do not carry that sting which he used in his hey days. So not real benefit if we keep digging those old wounds. Move Over..

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  • ReverseSweepIndia on October 22, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    lets move over with it. At that time is was a very bad thing to happen. And worst out of it both sides thinks themselves as victim and other the oppressor. Ponting wrote a book before he joined MI and as he says he has buried all the hatchets, we should be fine with it too. More over Ponting is retired, so is Kumble, Sachin going to do next month and Bhajji out of favor with national selectors and do not carry that sting which he used in his hey days. So not real benefit if we keep digging those old wounds. Move Over..

  • PrasPunter on October 22, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    good one @ReverseSweepIndia, a very very sane and wise comment from an indian fan ( I believe ). Let it go and move on.

  • on October 22, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    BTW, Symonds also made 'truce' with Bhajji and Sachin and played a couple of years with Mumbai Indians. If Symonds was really gone after that how did he forgive everything that happened (even though it may have been CA's fault for not supporting their players). Bottom line, the money in IPL is way too much for these 'petty disputes' to linger on. The (money from) IPL is the reason why these guys made up with each other and out up at MI.

  • Craptastic on October 22, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Yeah exactly. Its over. Lets just hope that someone (anyone!) learnt a lesson from it

  • LillianThomson on October 22, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Here in Australia we have never forgotten nor forgiven Tendulkar's changing evidence. The love and respect he enjoys everywhere else does not exist here - outside the Indian community - because every cricket lover knows what he did.

  • No_Excuses on October 22, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Ponting didn't play in the IPL for money - he did it for the experience. He was estimated to make around $5 million per year while captain of Australia from CA payments and endorsements -the $200,000 he made playing IPL was loose change. Australian cricketers without central contracts would be keen to play in the IPL for the money as their income from domestic teams is around $200,000 per annum. Most senior Australian cricketers would be on $1,000,000 plus from CA.

  • on October 22, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    Lillian: We will never forgive or forget the Sydney test match of 2008 also. Symonds snicking one to the keeper and standing his ground (and to think the Aussies are crying foul at Stuart Broad), Michael Clarke snicking one to slip and waiting for the umpire's verdict, the picture of Ponting grounding the ball but still appealing for a catch - all these will be forever etched in many Indian fan's memory.People living in glass house should not be hurling stones!

  • on October 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Ponting must shoulder some of the blame for what transpired. During the one day series in India during October 2007 when it was clear that a section of the crowd was making gestures and taunting Symonds, Ponting had no other option but to lead the Australian team off the field just like Illingworth led the English team off the field in 1970 for unacceptable crowd behaviour. Had he done so, the matter would have been resolved long before the Indian cricket team arrived in Australia.

  • Shaggy076 on October 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Raj Sundararaman; So many Indian fans holding grudges, you were happy to get Ponting wrongly given out to bring Symonds to the crease but paint Symonds as the villain. There was 2 bad decisions one for each team, the way this game is painted by the Indian public is disgraceful as is the hounding of Steve Bucknor out of the game.

  • yezdi70 on October 22, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @No_Excuses. Thats Hilarious. A man who has retired from cricket plays for experience? Really !