Aussie legend Shane Warne has reportedly said Ricky Ponting’s coaching position in the IPL needs to be addressed by Indian cricket authorities over a potential conflict of interest.
The Spin King has declared it is not a level playing field that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allows Ponting to coach the Delhi Daredevils while coaches with links to the Indian cricket team, including head coach Ravi Shastri, have been forbidden from being involved in the IPL.
Ponting earlier this month announced his decision to join Australian coach Justin Langer’s coaching staff as a specialist batting coach focusing on Australia’s ODI World Cup campaign.
Under the rule changes made in 2015 that saw Shastri forced to step down as a board member on the IPL Governing Council because of his position as Indian cricket team director, members of the Indian coaching staff are forbidden from coaching in the IPL because of potential conflicts of interest.
Warne says he accepts the decision and believes the situation is no different for Ponting juggling his IPL position and his short-term contract position with the Aussie cricket team.
In an interview with the Mumbai Mirror, Warne was asked if it is “justified” that Ponting is allowed to coach under the rules, but India’s national team coaches can’t.
Warne said he did not see any issue with Ponting getting to coach Delhi’s international players just a few weeks out from the ODI World Cup, where he will be coaching against some of them.
However, he does agree that it is unfair for Ponting to be coaching when it is deemed that a conflict of interest exists for India’s coaches — threatening the integrity of the annual tournament.
“Look, Virat Kohli is the captain of a team and Rohit Sharma is the captain of another side. They will have players from other countries who are bound for the World Cup. So that does not bother me,” Warne said.
“But on the first point, (and) this is not for me to say, but if the BCCI decides Ravi Shastri cannot be part of the IPL, then I don’t see how Ricky can be.”
In an interview promoting his return with the Rajasthan Royals as a global brand ambassador, Warne also said India and England deserve to be favourites for this year’s 50-over World Cup — but still believes Australia has a chance if the right players are selected.
“Australia too have a chance,” he said.
“Once David Warner and Steve Smith are back, joining players like D’Arcy (Short), Glenn Maxwell, (Pat) Cummins, (Mitchell) Starc… they will have a strong team.”
Warne and Ponting have had a long, rollercoaster relationship both during and after their Test careers.
Most recently Warne took a jab at Ponting in his recently released boo, No Spin, where he again criticised Ponting’s infamous decision to bowl first in the Second Test in Birnmingham during the iconic 2005 Ashes series in Birmingham.
“I rate it as the worst decision made by a captain I played under,” Warne wrote.
“It was based on arrogance about the opposition and our own supposed invincibility, not the cricketing facts.”
Warne also called Ponting “jealous” after the former Test captain criticised Michael Clarke’s vice captaincy in his own autobiography.
However, more recently, Warne has spoken positively about Ponting and listed him as one of four options he wanted to replace under fire batting coach Graeme Hick earlier this summer.
“Whether it be Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey … I’m sure any of those guys could do it,” Warne said.
Meanwhile, Warne has been forced to defend his TV commentary with Fox Cricket after he was accused of smiling along when colleague Kerry O’Keeffe was accused of making a racially insensitive remark.
O’Keeffe in December penned an open letter to Indian cricket fans explaining that he has never attempted to be racially prejudiced towards Indian people — and simply made a bad joke.
The former Aussie spinner took a lighthearted swipe at debut opener Mayank Agarwal, suggesting he’d scored his maiden first class triple century against “canteen staff” in India.
“Apparently he got the triple against the Railways canteen staff,” O’Keeffe said before joking about a kitchen hand opening the bowling.
Warne was drawn into the controversy because he was commentating alongside O’Keeffe at the time.
Warne told The Mumbai Mirror, he does not believe O’Keeffe’s comment was racially motivated and does not have an issue with what was said.
“Kerry was not insulting anyone,” Warne said.
“He was trying to be humorous. I understand him, he was never racist, Kerry was being Kerry at that time.
“When he was laughing, you can’t help it. He did not see how people would react, he has also apologised. I think there was a bit of over-reaction in India.”