Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has taken a swipe at Cameron Bancroft, accusing the banned opener of trying to repair his image amid renewed debate about whether David Warner can be reintegrated into the national side.
Bancroft revisited the Cape Town ball tampering scandal in an interview broadcast during Fox Sports' Boxing Day coverage, suggesting he "didn't know any better" when asked by Warner to interfere with the ball at Newlands.
The broadcaster also aired a separate interview with Steve Smith, who spoke of the "dark space" he was in after the tampering furore.
Bancroft's nine-month ban expires on Saturday while Warner, who is yet to speak in depth about the events in Cape Town, and Smith have another three months to serve.
All three are likely to be in Australia's plans for next year's Ashes but it remains to be seen if bridges have been burned, with former opener Michael Slater suggesting the relationship between Warner and Bancroft is untenable.
Ponting said he was stunned by the timing of Bancroft's interview which threatened to overshadow the biggest day on Australia's cricketing calendar.
"I was disappointed with a few things and I don't think he had to say some of the things he had to say," Ponting said on the Seven Network.
"Even the way he presented himself in that interview ... he's trying to rebuild his brand and that sort of thing, and I think some of the things he's had to say have actually done more damage to his brand than what had happened before."
Bancroft said in the interview with Adam Gilchrist that he "just wanted to fit in and feel valued".
A CA investigation found that Warner was the architect of the illegal ploy, and that nobody outside Warner, Smith and Bancroft knew of the one-off plan to alter the ball with sandpaper.
Smith declined to address the incident in detail but shed further light on the role former Cricket Australia executives James Sutherland and Pat Howard played in establishing a toxic culture of winning without counting the costs.
Seven Network commentator Slater accused Smith and Bancroft of attempting to "bury" Warner, adding it would be difficult for the divisive star to return to the team.
"There is a strategy behind Steve Smith and Bancroft, and Dave Warner's off the radar at the moment," Slater said.
"In terms of a respectful comment on Dave Warner, there's been none of that. So to me, it is untenable, they've buried him very quickly."
Australian Associated Press