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Ponting moves on from Monkeygate

Daniel Brettig

October 22, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting indicates to the umpire that the catch by Michael Clarke was clean, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 5th day, January 6, 2008
Ricky Ponting's loyalty to Andrew Symonds was not matched by CA administrators © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by jay57870 on (October 25, 2013, 13:19 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!!

Posted by sharidas on (October 24, 2013, 6:20 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.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (October 24, 2013, 5:11 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.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 3:15 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

Posted by jay57870 on (October 24, 2013, 2:32 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?

Posted by jay57870 on (October 24, 2013, 2:26 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!

Posted by   on (October 23, 2013, 23:30 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.

Posted by Chris_P on (October 23, 2013, 21:24 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.

Posted by cnksnk on (October 23, 2013, 7:56 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.

Posted by   on (October 23, 2013, 4:32 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! :)

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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