Ahead of the high-octane Ashes clash set to begin from August 1, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said that he was pleased with duo David Warner and Steve Smith's performance in the 2019 World Cup, overcoming the hostile English crowds to put up their best performance for the Baggy Greens.
"I'm sure it's been difficult, but you wouldn't know from the way they've been around the team. The important thing for those guys coming back into the side was, if they started the World Cup well and got some runs under their belts, then it would be easier for them to handle some of the stuff that's been going on. I'm just pleased for both of them that they played the way they did," media reports quoted Ponting as saying.
The two batsmen were each banned for 12 months over their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. Cameron Bancroft, also named in the Test squad, was banned for nine months. But Waugh said Australia had turned a corner.
The culprit behind the scandal had been revealed, and Bancroft was the one to open up about it. The Australian opener has revealed that it was Warner who had given the idea to use sandpaper and tamper with the ball.
"Dave suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in the game and I didn't know any better. I didn't know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really. As simple as that. he decision was based around my values, what I valued at the time, and I valued fitting in ... you hope that fitting in earns you respect and with that, I guess, there came a pretty big cost for the mistake," he said.
Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, and Steven Smith, all three have been included in Australia's 17 man squad for the Ashes series against England. All three players were suspended due to the Sandpaper gate controversy that happened in South Africa series last year.
Smith and Warner put up a brave face in front of the hostile, jeering English crowd during the World Cup. Warner managed to score 674 runs in the showpiece tournament, becoming the second-highest run-getter in the tournament and one run behind table topper Rohit Sharma.
Ponting said that he was confident about Cameron Bancroft's ability to handle the situation and face the banter. "I think Justin Langer is a pretty good assessor of people's character. And Justin talks very highly of Cameron Bancroft as a person and as a character, so if that's the case I think he will handle it fine," he said.
Australia will face England for the first Test match in the Ashes on August 1.