According to Ponting, the players lacked experience at the crucial juncture in South Africa.
As a result, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were thrust into their respective period of suspensions.
Here's more on the story.
"I was worried that with a lot of the experience going out of our team at the same time, there would be a bit of a void left with experienced players to be able to say no," Ponting was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
During the third Test against South Africa in March 2018, Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft's attempt to rough up the ball with sandpaper for garnering reverse swing was caught on television.
The then captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were handed one-year suspensions from all forms of cricket, while the former was banned for nine months.
As the ban was lifted in March 2019, Warner went all guns blazing in IPL 2019.
He finished as the highest run-scorer.
Warner scored 647 runs to finish as the second-highest run-scorer in the 2019 World Cup.
He struck a triple century against Pakistan in the Adelaide Test.
Meanwhile, Smith amassed a mind-boggling 774 runs in seven Ashes innings at an average of 110.57.
Australia will be travelling to South Africa for the limited overs assignments in February (three T20Is and as many ODIs).
Life comes full circle for Warner and his compatriot Smith, who will land in the African nation for the first time in nearly two years.
The duo would want to shut the critics this time around. The tour commences on Feb 21.
"Steve and Dave have ticked off pretty much every box since coming back. I don't think it'll faze them one bit. They probably play better when it's like this. It's nothing we haven't experienced before," Josh Hazlewood told reporters in Sydney.
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