• Australia

Ponting moves on from Monkeygate

Daniel Brettig
October 22, 2013 « Anderson: No love lost with Aussies | Chartbeat test »
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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