'Out of control': Ricky Ponting's new claims in ball-tampering scandal

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

It’s nearly two years since the Australian ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricket world, but questions still linger about how it all went down.

Australia depart later this week for South Africa, where they will face the hosts in three Twenty20s and three ODIs.

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The series starts on February 21, while a T20 on February 26 will mark the tourists' first match in Newlands since the 2018 sandpaper scandal.

The scandal has naturally been a talking point ahead of the tour, and former skipper Ricky Ponting spoke out about the controversy on Thursday.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Ponting revealed how he had been worried for a number of years about the lack of leadership around the national side after he retired.

Ricky Ponting has opened up about the ball-tampering scandal. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Ponting claims there weren’t enough senior leaders around the team to put a stop to things before the scandal played out on the field.

“If I look at where things got at Cape Town I just don't think there were enough people around that team to say 'no' to some of those guys. Things got completely out of control,” Ponting said.

"I probably should have retired three or four years earlier than I did but I was really worried about where the direction of the Australian cricket team was going if I wasn't around.

“And I wanted to be around to help Warner and Smith and Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson. I wanted to help them through that initial phase of their international careers because I knew it wasn't going to be easy for them.”

Aussies ready for hostile reception

David Warner is bracing for a hostile reception during Australia's limited-overs tour, when he and Steve Smith will return to the scene of their Cape Town nightmare.

Warner and Smith were booed and jeered throughout England during last year's Ashes and World Cup, with the expectation being they will soon receive similar treatment.

"For me personally, it won't be hard at all,” Warner told Sydney radio 2GB.

"Obviously, it's going to be very hostile. I copped it in England; I actually enjoyed that and played along with it.

"They're a great bunch of people who come along and they're great supporters of the game.

"Hopefully, we're showed some respect when we go over to Africa and the things that happen in the past stay there.”

England's recent tour of South Africa was loaded with on-field scraps and spite.

Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander were all charged for breaching the sport's code of conduct.

Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine, Steve Smith and David Warner during the Ashes. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Stokes apologised after swearing at a fan in Johannesburg, claiming he had been "subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd".

“Obviously, they had a heated series against England as well, so it's going to be testing when you get there,” Warner said.

“It's not a Test match series and it's a quick turnaround with the T20s and one-dayers. You don't really have any time to worry about anything or listen to anything.”

England's recent tour of South Africa was loaded with on-field scraps and spite.

Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander were all charged for breaching the sport's code of conduct.

Stokes apologised after swearing at a fan in Johannesburg, claiming he had been “subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd.”

“Obviously, they had a heated series against England as well, so it's going to be testing when you get there,” Warner said.

“It's not a Test match series and it's a quick turnaround with the T20s and one-dayers. You don't really have any time to worry about anything or listen to anything.”

with AAP