‘Important to move on’ from Monkeygate scandal, says Ricky Ponting

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“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”

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has announced that he believes it is “important to move on” from the Monkeygate scandal in 2008.

Ponting noted that he had cleared the air with Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh while representing the Mumbai Indians in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

In his forthcoming autobiography, At the Close of Play, Ponting stated that he felt as if Singh received a very lenient sentence for racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds by calling him a monkey.

Singh was suspended for three Test matches following an inquiry, but the ruling was overturned by Justice John Hansen when Singh appealed against it.

The former Australian captain also questioned Tendulkar’s role in the scandal as he defended Singh during his appeal hearing, despite not having said anything to match referee Mike Proctor.

“I had to captain Harbhajan and Sachin, and Anil was the mentor/coach,” Ponting told ESPNcricinfo. “They wouldn’t have had me there if that (Monkeygate) hadn’t passed over.

“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.”

Ponting admitted that he had been infuriated with the lack of support from Cricket Australia during the scandal, especially after one of their players had been a victim of racial abuse.

“The worst of it all was the impact it had on Symmo (Symonds),” Ponting said. “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.”

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