Former umpire brands captain a 'smart arse' January 19, 2006

Ponting labelled a disgrace to Australia

Cricinfo staff

'Ponting is a smart arse and a disaster as leader' © Getty Images
The 80-year-old former Test umpire Lou Rowan has branded Ricky Ponting a disgrace to his country and expressed his disgust at Australia's conduct this summer.

Rowan, a police detective who officiated in 25 Tests in the 1960s and 1970s, claims Ponting lacks class and authority as a captain, while stating that Australia's behaviour this summer has been an insult to former players.

"Ponting is a smart arse and a disaster as leader. The conduct of him and his players is absolutely disgraceful," Rowan told Fox Sports. "He has no control over his players. It is an insult to former players and people associated with the game."

During a tempestuous series against South Africa, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath have all been called to the match referee this summer, prompting angry and resentful comments from former players and captains - and now umpires. Ponting, whose leadership came under increased scrutiny after Australia lost the Ashes last summer, conceded that his team's attitude and behaviour simply must change.

"It just hasn't looked good," he said. "Just a couple of things on telly, even though there have been some chats with the umpires, they just haven't looked good and the perception of it is it's a blight on the game.

"So I just had a chat with the guys this morning to make sure we are thinking about how bad it would look on the television if we do it. I have got no problem with the bowlers especially wanting to have a chat with the umpire and ask about certain decisions that have been made. But let's just make it one question and one answer, and then get on with it."

Our Australian team [are] quite correctly dubbed 'the ugly Australians'

Lou Rowan

Rowan's abhorrence at Australia's antics have culminated in the extraordinary admission that he has now watched his last Test match.

"The standard of conduct that was common-place in my time has been contemptuously trampled underfoot by certain Australian players who cannot grasp the significance of the honour bestowed on them by the baggy green cap," Rowan said.

"The ever-present and accepted practice of sledging, obscenities, excessive appealing, the questioning of umpires and the accompanying dissent leaves our Australian team quite correctly dubbed 'the ugly Australians'."