Melbourne, Oct 19: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels country's cricket board let him and the entire team down during the 2008 'Monkeygate' controversy, saying that Cricket Australia (CA) officials acted as if the relationship with India mattered more than the national players.
In fresh excerpts of his autobiography 'At The Close of Play' published by 'The Age', Ponting has shed some more light on the scandal that threatened the bilateral ties between India and Australia in 2008.
"It was impossible for me not to conclude that they (Cricket Australia) considered Australian cricket's relationship with India more important than how they looked after us and communicated with us. They let me down and let the team down. I am still struggling to forget it," Ponting has written in the book.
In an earlier excerpts that came out, Ponting had questioned Sachin Tendulkar's role in the controversy.
Ponting had stated that he didn't understand why the veteran Indian vouched for Harbhajan Singh during the appeal hearing but did not say anything when match referee Mike Procter initially suspended the spinner for passing allegedly racial comments at all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
"I couldn't understand why Sachin didn't tell this to (match referee) Mike Procter in the first place," he had stated.
Talking of Tendulkar, Ponting did pay tribute to the batsman, who would be retiring next month after his 200th Test.
"Sachin is easily, technically the best player I played against but Lara was more of a potential match-winner. Pietersen is easily the best England batsman I played against. He is not scared of big situations," he said.
Away from his contemporaries, Ponting was candid enough to admit that he overstayed his welcome in international cricket.
"I probably played longer than I should have but I needed to be around the team at that time. I wanted to help some of the younger guys through that changeover," he said.