Ponting says ball-tampering scandal ended interest in becoming Australia coach

Ricky Ponting has revealed that he was "very interested" in becoming Australia 's specialist T20 coach back in 2018.

Ponting had worked as an assistant coach with the Australian side during 2017 and 2018 and was keen to become head coach in the T20 format.

At the time, Darren Lehmann had been in charge of the side in all formats for almost five years and Australia were keen for him to take a step back.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia's high performance manager Pat Howard revealed: "He [Ponting] was an extremely popular candidate and had been incredibly influential on the New Zealand T20 tour.

"He had given great energy to the players and coaches in that period. Darren coached on that tour but took very much a back seat. He was obviously tired. I tried to give him a tour a year off."

Despite Ponting admitting that he was "very interested" in the role at the time, he has revealed that the ball-tampering scandal which took place in March 2018 ended his interest.

Nicknamed 'Sandpapergate', the incident saw Australia players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft get hit with bans by Cricket Australia after Bancroft was caught using sandpaper to illegally rough up the ball during their tour of South Africa.

The scandal also led to Lehmann's resignation, with Justin Langer being appointed as his replacement in all formats, a call Ponting believes was "absolutely the right decision".

He said: "I had a few chats with Pat Howard [about becoming T20 coach]. It never got to the detail of specifics, timing, resources, structure etc as there was no time pressure for that to happen.

"It was an open-ended discussion. However the events in South Africa in March 2018 led to so much change in Australian cricket and the appointment of Justin Langer to replace Darren Lehmann, across all three forms, was absolutely the right decision.

"My life has changed a lot since then. IPL continues to be my coaching priority and it works well with my media commitments with the Seven Network, Cricket Australia and Sky in the UK.

"The rest of the year is spent with my family and enjoying a work/life balance that I have never had before.

"Right now, I would have to give up so much to take on a national role. It’s just the wrong time for me."

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