Former captain Ricky Ponting has insisted Australian’s team culture ‘has always been very strong’, despite recent suggestions to the contrary.
Batsmen Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are currently serving bans after admitting to ball-tampering during the Test series against South Africa earlier this year.
England all-rounder Moeen Ali, meanwhile, has alleged to being ‘racially abused’ by an Australian player during 2015’s Ashes series.
‘We know the reason why a lot of that stuff started, don’t we? A lot of stuff has been made about the culture of the team on the back of one issue from South Africa,’ Ponting was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘There wasn’t anything spoken about the culture of the team before that, really. We know where it started. I have been around the team a lot – not a lot but a fair bit – since the Australian summer last year. The culture of the Australian cricket team has always been very, very good and very strong.
‘Yes, there might have been a few little occasions where things got out of hand and over the top but the thing you have to remember about Australian cricket is you can do everything right for 10 years and then have one little incident and all of a sudden it is back to the ugly Aussies again. Australian cricket has been fighting that trend and that label for 30 or 40 years.’
The experienced Justin Langer succeeded former head coach Darren Lehmann after the ball-tampering debacle, while wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine has replaced Smith as captain.
‘But I can guarantee you. with Justin being in control and the people that he will have around him, and Tim as captain, things will be vastly different going forward,’ added Ponting.
‘As a spectator now, and the people you bump into in the street, people were starting to demand that things changed a little bit. That’s the bottom line with it all. For an ex-Australian player and ex-Australian captain, I want the Australian cricket team to be the most-loved sporting team in the world, not just in Australia.’