For those who may not have seen it, reprinted here in full from The Cricket Tragics.
''I entered into discussion with the umpires about the detail of the decision, having viewed replays being shown on the big screen,'' Ponting said. ''I accept the discussion went for too long, and I understand the reasons for the dissent charge handed down by the ICC this evening.
''I was simply trying to seek clarification from the umpires regarding how the decision had been made after being referred to the third umpire. However, I would be unhappy if anyone thought I was being disrespectful towards the umpires as this wasn't my intention.''
Ponting's Full Defence on Sky News
The captaincy of Australia, it is said, is the second most important job in Australia. Perhaps it could also be said to be the second most privileged place in Australian society. It comes with expectations and responsibilities too but unfortunately, the incumbent has mostly just talked the talk in their regard.
Leadership is an odd thing. Their are many ways to lead ... by example, for instance. By standing out in harms way and beating one's breast and willing your comrades to stand with you. The examples by which one leads, however, are not chosen .. . yes I'll have that one, no I prefer not to do that ... leadership by example is a focus which never goes fuzzy at the edges and allows the leader to have time off. Perhaps this explains why Ricky Ponting so often fails as a leader and resorts to the ideas of others because he finds the glare in the spotlight too constant, too demanding?
The words and terms which Ponting uses to defend his actions on the second day of the annually most watched cricket match in Australia, are those of a man who refuses to accept failure, despite the obvious evidence that he has failed. Much of it is spin provided by the massagers of truth who know the Australian public wants to forgive their man - has to forgive their man - hence the references to the every man, club captains. It's enough to make those without an emotional sporting reference point dependant on the national team's success puke till bile rises and burns the honesty they hold to. My throat is still stinging.
There's deferral of blame too. So carefully inserted ... if he hadn't seen the replay on the big screen, he wouldn't have been so convinced ... therefore, its not Ponting's fault he went from short fuse to walking bomb. The cleverness here is that it's a claim that rings true.
In the end, Ponting says he's sorry, but he's still right about the Pietersen inside edge, because he saw it on the big screen. Cue The Beach Boys and "Won't Back Down" as fresh coats of Teflon are applied to his image by pleasant ladies and gents with wide smiles and so much to tell him about how wonderful he really is. The ultimate lie is to have the liar believe the new truth.
There is so much wrong with what he did but then so much more wrong with how his reaction was stage managed. It's all about us wanting to let this pass because our boys are under enough attack already from the Poms and its also about plausible deniability. If the media savages the skipper under such circumstance, they are unpatriotic.
Lets deal with a few facts. One player reacted to the ball passing by Pietersen's bat and it wasn't Ponting. Vision showed him being convinced into a referral by Haddin. The players watched replays shown ill advisedly on the big screen as the umpires were deciding Pietersen's fate. The replays showed a clear outcome and Aleem Dar communicated that to the players. The fact that Ponting couldn't allow it to end there is, as he has said, totally his responsibility. What followed was a petulant display which goes against a basic tenant of cricket which media and administrators have been breaking a lot lately, "the umpire is always right".
Why did he react with so little restraint?
The answer is only partly to do with the current state of play in a series in which his exalted position has finally failed to have evidence to support it - he has failed to make significant contributions with the bat in all but one innings and that was after the match was safe in Brisbane; he has dropped crucial catches at second slip where he once caught them as if shelling peas; his captaincy has been questioned as being bland and unimaginative as England have piled on runs.
To be truly derivative in seeking an explanation to to this brain explosion, a wander back over the last five years of Ponting's controversies give a truer reason for the refusal to accept the three umpires' opinion in Melbourne.
Ponting dislikes, even hates the use of technology in cricket and has spoken with passion about the shortfalls of its use. Again before this current series, he called on players to deliver an honest appraisal of catches that are a close call and to leave replays out of the decision making loop. He caused a storm in New Zealand when DRS equipment was unable to be used because of winds over 130k/h. In Bangladesh in 2006, Ponting hurled abuse at umpires Ian Howell and Aleem Dar over a referral involving Aftab Ahmed and lost 25% of his match fee when referee Jeff Crowe found him guilty.In the DLF one day series in 2006, he launched an attack on umpire Mark Benson when he reversed a decision to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar and match referee decided not to proceed to disciplinary action. Even in this series, Ponting became annoyed by a third umpire decision in Brisbane when he felt he had held a fair catch from Alastair Cook and it was overturned.
Technology and its proper application may be a sore point for Ponting but the problem isn't just that. In 2005, Ponting blew up with Dar when he was run out by England substitute Gary Pratt, claiming England had no right to have a fielding specialist acting in the role of "acting" 12th man. His tally of five convictions for dissent against umpires in his six years as Captain can't all be blamed on technology but may have some basis in the personnel involved. It was interesting that he chose to comment on how expert the umpires for this match are, as at least three of the five conduct violations have involved Aleem Dar as the other party.
Ponting has always lacked self-control and despite spin to cover his tracks, his short fuse was apparent well before his ascent to the captaincy. A black eye when his reputation was reduced to annoying pest by a jealous boyfriend at a notorious Sydney nightclub haunt and his penis flopping display in an Indian equivalent are just two of the less delightful examples of warnings which should have seen him confined to the ranks. Unfortunately, we entered an era when performance was everything and Ponting performances were better than any. In return, he has traded on his role as a means of supplying rocket fuel to his batting and becoming easily the most dominant batsman of his generation and likely its most dangerous.
Perhaps the worst example of his aggressive, in your face petulance which owes as much to his immaturity as to the willingness of Cricket Australia to tolerate it, was the home series again the Indians three summers ago. India came to Australia on equal footing with the confident Australians who had squashed England the summer before and were taking a bruising, winner take all approach to Test cricket. Perhaps, in some way, Ponting needed to adopt an approach that might compensate for the hole left by match winners Warne, McGrath and the influential Langer, who despite being the toughest cricketer of his generation, also knew where the line was and kept Ponting from crossing it.
India were crushed in the Boxing Day Test, Hayden making one of three hundreds against them that summer and the bowlers, including a young and inexperienced Mitchell Johnson, easily ran through them. In the second game in Sydney, Ponting two enforcer's, Hayden and Symonds, were a physical presence over the Indians but their off spinner, Harbhajan Singh refused to take a backward step and suddenly the two bully boys were screaming like eight year olds who were about to be found out by the teacher and the match exploded into alleged racial taunts and the sort of bad blood one would expect to find along the Indian/Pakistani border. Then when Michael Clarke took three wickets in an over, deep into the last hour's allotment, Ponting exploded in one of the crassest displays that misfortune would allow. Many observers, were appalled and some, such as Peter Roebuck, called for his head, rightly stating that this was conduct unbecoming.
Cricket Australia sat on its hands and changed its name.
How much is enough? Apparently no amount of regular poor conduct from the Australian Captain will move either the ICC or Cricket Australia or the selectors to make a move against him. Perhaps they should note the spontaneous booing which began after five minutes of the most recent bat-and-ball-go-home stuff in Melbourne and again directed at Aleem Dar. It was no longer just the Balmy Army singing jeers at a man they once admired and feared. Australians in the outer voiced their disapproval at being so poorly represented by the man with the biggest share of little man syndrome in Australian sport. Even Members hissed their contempt.
The ICC, having taken part and whole match payment from him repeatedly, continues to slap his wrist and provide no disincentive. Given the severity of this incident in Melbourne and its repeating nature, a suspension would have been more in order. In soccer, if you stack those yellow cards, it doesn't matter who you are, you watch from the sidelines. Cricket, with all its genteel pretensions can stomach no such thing, having to be forced to take action against obvious cheats only when the media applies pressure. Toothless tigers rarely worry the hunters.
The show is almost over but whilst you and I can hear the Fat Lady warming up, Ricky Ponting still thinks he'll smack England for 100 in Sydney and life will go on. He doesn't like losing but hasn't seemed to notice how often it is happening. His high performance Alzheimer's makes him forgetful of dropped catches and the regularity with which an opener stands, watching him leave for the sheds. He doesn't notice younger players who adore him rushing to his defence. The arbiter of "the line", Justin Langer, needs to move beyond his batting coach role and have a word.
For Ponting's sake and more broadly for Australian cricket, I hope this man whose batting genius has made us all gape at our own inadequacy, will think on the consequences and call it a day in Sydney. As much as I have disliked and critiqued his captaincy and his inability to lead, I'd still like the chance to wave him off at the SCG and reminisce on his behalf on great innings that belong, properly to the past. I hold no malice and would rather hold no regret.
The time is right Skipper. For once, step away from other's plans and suggestions, sniff the breeze and strut your stuff one last time and let us afford you the praise your sumptuous batting and wonderful fielding has well and truly earned.