Australia news February 13, 2014

Sydney controversy ended Symonds' career - Ponting

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has criticised Cricket Australia for its handling of the race row in the aftermath of the Sydney Test in 2008 and said that it led to a premature end to Andrew Symonds' Test career.

Symonds was involved in an altercation with India's Harbhajan Singh on day three of the Test, during which the bowler allegedly called Symonds a "monkey". Harbhajan was handed a three-match ban, which was later overturned on appeal. Symonds only played nine Tests after the scandal broke, ending his career after a tally of 26 matches.

"That [the scandal] was the start of the end for Andrew Symonds," Ponting said in a television interview. "His career spiralled downhill after that because I know for a fact that he didn't feel like he could trust the people he needed to trust."

Ponting said as a captain of the Australia team and as a member of the society, he had to take a stand against racism to make sure it didn't happen around him.

"I knew how powerful Indian cricket was, everyone did," he said. "But at the same time, I know how powerful racism is in society as well.

"I was told every day, every week by Cricket Australia that we had to stamp it out of the game. And [when] it did [happen], I had to make a stand against it. I followed the instructions to the letter. I did everything I was expected to do. I know there are a lot of administrators in Cricket Australia who can't say the same thing."

Speaking on Mickey Arthur, the former Australia coach under whom Ponting played as well, he said Arthur lacked the ingredients Australia needed from their coach at that time.

"Mickey might be one of the great cricket coaches in the world, but he wasn't the guy, the personality, the coach that Australian cricket needed at that time," he said.

"We needed to bring the old, hard-nosed Aussie way back, and that certainly wasn't the way Mickey was trying to coach our team."

Arthur was involved in a controversy during the 2013 tour of India for sending four players back to Australia in the middle of the tour. He was sacked 16 days prior to the summer Ashes and was replaced by Darren Lehmann.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on February 14, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    When an Aussie is at the receiving end of sledging Ponting keeps raising the issue every time. For close to 2decades sledging was widely used by the Aussies to have a psychological edge over its opponents. Where did all his bickering go then? And to tell tat incident started the downfall of symonds career is juvenile. His disobedience and arrogance alone caused his downfall not a sledging by a player which is very common in cricket especially in a game involving the Aussies!

  • Steve on February 14, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    If you did read Ponting's book you would read that he now gets along with Bhajji and understands that he is as competitive cricketer as any Australian, but he also says it was wrong. He doesn't condemn Bhajji he condemns the handling of the situation by both CA and BCCI. The sweep under the carpet by CA and the threat to boycott the series by BCCI over a suspension placed by an independant arbartrator was pathetic and childish. What Bhajji said was cheap and he should have taken the punishment like a man.

  • Pranshu on February 14, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    Ponting talking about a team mate at the receiving end of a sledge. Its a bit ironic really! P Harbhajan FTW!

  • David on February 14, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I love people who are apparently Indians telling Ponting and Symonds to move on. Must be at least a week since some Indian supporter on this site whinged about the Sydney Test of that year. Let me repeat, India lost that game because their late order batsmen bottled it completely against Michael Clarke of all people.

  • Sanjaya on February 14, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Ponting wants to sell his book. this incident is detailed in his book. Ponting did not complaint when he played for Mumbai Indians where they had Harbajan and Kumble both

  • Brady on February 14, 2014, 1:18 GMT

    I'm sure this will come up again in a few months time.

  • Shiv on February 13, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Why does Ricky keep coming up with nonsense every other week like an attention seeking hore.

  • Prasanna on February 13, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Unfortunate to have lost Andrew Symonds for lack of trust with other CA folks...great cricketer but wish he was stronger to move beyond this !

    He had the opportunity to be a role-model to minority Aussies.

  • Sarath Chandra on February 13, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    For those guys asking to let go - it is easy for the bullies to move on; not the bullied.

  • Chris on February 13, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Good job Ricky! Telling it LIKE IT IS. No fear when you're retired, and that's a good thing in this case. Have thoroughly enjoyed Ricky's candid honesty. My missus and I respect you even more than we already did. Onya Punter!

  • No featured comments at the moment.