Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting feels lack of support from the cricket board (CA) to Andrew Symonds during the ‘monkeygate’ episode was the reason behind the premature end to the mercurial allrounder’s career.
Ponting said Cricket Australia (CA) bowed to the heavyweight BCCI during the 2008 incident in which India’s Harbhajan Singh was accused of racially abusing Symonds during a controversial Test match.
“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,” Ponting was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press from his interview to Nine Network, to be aired on Saturday.
Harbhajan was banned for three Tests following the incident but the BCCI got the sanction revoked following an appeal.
“And that was the start of the end for Andrew Symonds. 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,” he said.
Following a string of off-field incidents, Symonds went out of favour from the national selectors as he played his last Test in the same year, while his ODI career ended few months later in May 2009.
Cricket Australia made a mistake in hiring Mickey Arthur as coach in 2011, Ponting said.
The former Australia captain claimed that the coach didn’t have the personality or style needed for the team.
The South African, the first foreign-born coach of the Australian side, was sacked just 16 days before the start of the Ashes in England last year following a shambolic series loss to India. He was replaced by Darren Lehmann.
Lehmann, a former colleague of Ponting’s, turned Australia’s dressing room and demeanour around and went on to lead the Test team to a 5-0 whitewash of England in the Ashes series on home soil. “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,” Ponting, who played under Arthur, said.
On the India tour, Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all disciplined by Arthur after failing to submit feedback requested by team management. They were axed, with Watson controversially sent home. Andrew Symonds