Australia news October 25, 2013

Play best batsman at No. 3 - Ponting

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As a young player on the fringes of Australia's top six in 1999, Ricky Ponting felt strongly that the team's best batsman and captain Steve Waugh should be walking to the wicket at No. 3. Fourteen years later, on the eve of a home Ashes summer, Ponting believes the incumbent captain Michael Clarke should be doing the same.

During a frank and detailed interview with ESPNcricinfo following the release of his autobiography At the Close of Play, Ponting stated that a team's most accomplished batsman should always bat at first wicket down, not only to accept the greatest batting challenge ahead of less talented team-mates but also to present the most positive front to the opposition. When asked about his earlier wish that Waugh had taken up the post rather than his usual No. 5 berth, Ponting said the same applied to Clarke.

"I still have the same thoughts now. The best batsman should be at three - I said it during the last Ashes series as well," Ponting said. "The times where we were 3 or 4 for 30, if your best batsman had been in earlier then maybe we'd have been only 1 or 2 for 30 or 40. You're the best batsman in the team because you've got the most skill. You've got more skill and can handle situations better than others.

"Michael has clearly been the best batsman in Australian cricket for probably the last three years, but he was almost coming in too late when the damage had already been done. I just think it sends a great statement as well, 'I'm coming in now', it puts pressure back on the bowlers, and just the way I feel it should be. That's why I said it about Steve, he was clearly the best batsman in our team and ranked the best batsman in the world. I don't think you can ask less skilled or less experienced guys to handle the hardest positions, it should always be up to you."

Ponting also opened up about how the challenges of batting had changed for him over time. For so many years a fearless, aggressive batsman, perfectly suited to Australia's era of dominance, Ponting said the challenge that ultimately overwhelmed him was a mounting fear of getting out, rather than simply focusing on making runs.

"I was more worried about getting out at the end than scoring runs. That was my downfall - I was more worried about survival than hitting the first ball I saw for four," Ponting said. "When I was batting at my best it didn't matter when it arrived, if it was a half-volley or a short one then I was going to hit it for four. Towards the end it was more getting myself in through the initial period, building an innings, that sort of thing.

"No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't release the handbrake the way I needed to. So the pressure of it got me as much as anything and I don't mind saying that. That was one thing that changed."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    valid point by ponting ! i always felt steve waugh had that intimadating aura on the opposition, but he somehow batted lower down. but then it was one aspect of his leadership where he was grooming somebody else for the position.Steve waugh was the best captain of his era. Currently clarke should definetely come one-down given the inexperience of the current aussie test batting. Finally good to listen ponting calling spade a spade. truly aussie way !

  • Viswasam on October 30, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    I agree with Milhouse79 - I don't think Ponting was the brightest captain. In fact, if you really slice up his captaincy record you will see that he was most successful when he had all the "greats" performing under him. To be honest, Barack Obama could have captained that team. As the team began to transition and they lost the greats what was Pontings record - mostly one of disbelief - as in "how could this happen" - it happened because Pontings captaincy did not change and we began to realize how not so great a captain he really was. I have great respect for him as a batsman but really none as an individual. He is the most pompous self aggrandizing cricketer of this generation and it is no surprise that he takes pot shots at other cricketers not because they are fallible but by doing so he strives to raise himself as being above the "rest". Utterly distasteful!

  • OneEyedAussie on October 28, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Different things work for different teams. Dravid worked at three for India even though Tendulkar was probably a better player most times. Trott is also not the best batsmen in the English line-up but is probably the best suited to #3. Ponting is assuming that what worked him and his team is universal, which evidentially is not true.

  • Shaggy076 on October 27, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    Its a team game and you set your batting line up to make the most runs for the team. If Clarke can average well over 50 at 5 (closer to 70-80 in the last couple of years) then I cant see why you would want to change it. Watson got the most runs of the Ashes series batting at 3 - so why would you change that. Ponting was a batsman that just wanted to get in, but you cant belittle the achievements of Border, S Waugh, Tendulkar, Lara, Maindad, J Kallis who have spent very little time at number 3. Im not sure about his logic either, using that you want your best batsman to set the tone well then why wouldn't your best batsman open?

  • on October 27, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    my Pic for ashes

    1.Shaun Marsh 2.Ed cowan 3.Watson 4.Clarke 5.Bailey 6.Silk 7.Haddin 8.Pattinson 9.Starc 10.Harris 11. Hautriz

  • Macker60 on October 27, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    If I can ask Pointing one Question, When was the Last time apart from Pointing that Australia Best Batsman Did bat at 3, Think you have to go back to Ian Chapel for that one.There were a few that Opened and a Few batting at 4, But not to many of our noted batsmen did bat at 3. History does not support his arguement

  • RednWhiteArmy on October 27, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    I remember saying Clarke "hides" down the order about 3 years ago. Old story.

  • riahcmra on October 26, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    think what he's really trying to say is the senior players should take more responsibility and bat high up the order and the new younger players get blooded down the order. I totally agree - we have been sending young guys in as cannon fodder while the old guard sat back in the middle order, and we wonder why our young bats struggle. And yes I agree Steve Waugh started it all .... he should have learnt to play the hook shot and bat higher

  • on October 26, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    Steve Waugh wasn't the best batman in that team, he wasn't even the best batsman in his family, he was simply the most determined to win. By 1999, the Australian team were World Cup champions and had a mortgage on the Ashes; there was no need for Waugh at 3 while Blewett et al were doing a job. Waugh reinvented himself as the man that could save an innings / game through doggedness, a 'win at all costs' attitude that inspired the rest of the team. Ponting is a thoughftull analyst, but he has placed himself first in this scenario.

  • Tumbarumbar on October 26, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @Joseph Langford you have won the gold medal for the comment ''one day people will understand this is a team sport' when referring to an argument made by Ricky Ponting. This is Ricky Ponting former Australian captain, not Ricky Ponting the golfer. As for your comment about Clarke 'loving number 5' isn't that the opposite of being a team player? Even when Hussey was in the team only one of them could afford to bat so far down the order and with Hussey gone the one truly great batsman in the team can't indulge his individual preferences. Gary Sobers was often criticized for the same thing late in his career but at least Clarke isn't bowling first change then bowling either orthodox or chinamen for umpteen overs

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    valid point by ponting ! i always felt steve waugh had that intimadating aura on the opposition, but he somehow batted lower down. but then it was one aspect of his leadership where he was grooming somebody else for the position.Steve waugh was the best captain of his era. Currently clarke should definetely come one-down given the inexperience of the current aussie test batting. Finally good to listen ponting calling spade a spade. truly aussie way !

  • Viswasam on October 30, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    I agree with Milhouse79 - I don't think Ponting was the brightest captain. In fact, if you really slice up his captaincy record you will see that he was most successful when he had all the "greats" performing under him. To be honest, Barack Obama could have captained that team. As the team began to transition and they lost the greats what was Pontings record - mostly one of disbelief - as in "how could this happen" - it happened because Pontings captaincy did not change and we began to realize how not so great a captain he really was. I have great respect for him as a batsman but really none as an individual. He is the most pompous self aggrandizing cricketer of this generation and it is no surprise that he takes pot shots at other cricketers not because they are fallible but by doing so he strives to raise himself as being above the "rest". Utterly distasteful!

  • OneEyedAussie on October 28, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Different things work for different teams. Dravid worked at three for India even though Tendulkar was probably a better player most times. Trott is also not the best batsmen in the English line-up but is probably the best suited to #3. Ponting is assuming that what worked him and his team is universal, which evidentially is not true.

  • Shaggy076 on October 27, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    Its a team game and you set your batting line up to make the most runs for the team. If Clarke can average well over 50 at 5 (closer to 70-80 in the last couple of years) then I cant see why you would want to change it. Watson got the most runs of the Ashes series batting at 3 - so why would you change that. Ponting was a batsman that just wanted to get in, but you cant belittle the achievements of Border, S Waugh, Tendulkar, Lara, Maindad, J Kallis who have spent very little time at number 3. Im not sure about his logic either, using that you want your best batsman to set the tone well then why wouldn't your best batsman open?

  • on October 27, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    my Pic for ashes

    1.Shaun Marsh 2.Ed cowan 3.Watson 4.Clarke 5.Bailey 6.Silk 7.Haddin 8.Pattinson 9.Starc 10.Harris 11. Hautriz

  • Macker60 on October 27, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    If I can ask Pointing one Question, When was the Last time apart from Pointing that Australia Best Batsman Did bat at 3, Think you have to go back to Ian Chapel for that one.There were a few that Opened and a Few batting at 4, But not to many of our noted batsmen did bat at 3. History does not support his arguement

  • RednWhiteArmy on October 27, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    I remember saying Clarke "hides" down the order about 3 years ago. Old story.

  • riahcmra on October 26, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    think what he's really trying to say is the senior players should take more responsibility and bat high up the order and the new younger players get blooded down the order. I totally agree - we have been sending young guys in as cannon fodder while the old guard sat back in the middle order, and we wonder why our young bats struggle. And yes I agree Steve Waugh started it all .... he should have learnt to play the hook shot and bat higher

  • on October 26, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    Steve Waugh wasn't the best batman in that team, he wasn't even the best batsman in his family, he was simply the most determined to win. By 1999, the Australian team were World Cup champions and had a mortgage on the Ashes; there was no need for Waugh at 3 while Blewett et al were doing a job. Waugh reinvented himself as the man that could save an innings / game through doggedness, a 'win at all costs' attitude that inspired the rest of the team. Ponting is a thoughftull analyst, but he has placed himself first in this scenario.

  • Tumbarumbar on October 26, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @Joseph Langford you have won the gold medal for the comment ''one day people will understand this is a team sport' when referring to an argument made by Ricky Ponting. This is Ricky Ponting former Australian captain, not Ricky Ponting the golfer. As for your comment about Clarke 'loving number 5' isn't that the opposite of being a team player? Even when Hussey was in the team only one of them could afford to bat so far down the order and with Hussey gone the one truly great batsman in the team can't indulge his individual preferences. Gary Sobers was often criticized for the same thing late in his career but at least Clarke isn't bowling first change then bowling either orthodox or chinamen for umpteen overs

  • Jaffa79 on October 26, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    I never respected Ponting's captaincy due to his petulant, whining behaviour but it is hard not to respect his batting. He was fearless and most definitely lead from the front. I agree with him; Steve Waugh has cultivated this image of himself being this gritty, tough backs-to-the-wall type of cricketer but in reality, he was hiding down the order to protect himself and his average. Clarke is a shrewd tactician but needs to man up and stop sending lesser batsmen to face the new ball in front of him. Do bowlers only bowl with the new ball or only bowl when it suits them? Nope.

  • kearon47 on October 26, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    I have never liked R.Ponting , and his statement here makes it more so. While he owned batting at no.3, M.Clarke came in and his spot was no.5. To expect him now at this time in his career too adapt to no.3 is an insult and ridiculous.

  • popcorn on October 26, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Ricky Ponting was easily the best number 3, EVER.And he is being modest. He never knew fear.

  • Mary_786 on October 26, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    I agree, put our best batsman in at 3. At present this is either Clarke or Watson. For future games Khawaja or Warner can make this spot their own but for the moment keep it to our more experienced batsman.

  • on October 25, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    ......continuation i thiink a good batting order should be like this 1. Defensive 2. Aggressive 3. Defensive 4. Aggressive 5. who nudges the ball around/good player in building partnerships 6 aggressive & a basher 7. aggresive

  • on October 25, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    In my opinion, the best batsman should play in the middle of the specialist batting order (no. 1 to 7) i.e no 4. That way you can stop a top order collapse and even have batsman behind you to make partnerships with. Batting no. 4 also sheilds you from the very hard new ball and also gives proper time for building an inning. I think Clarke is a more attacking, in your face type of player so he can counter-attack if the team is 20-2 and steal the advantage from the opposition and build a platform for other aggressive players. I also feel that the most aggressive player of the team should bat no. 6 (probably watto or warner) because they have the ability to kill the game by scoring quickly and taking a total of 200-4 to 450+ in no time.

  • on October 25, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Totally disagree ..... while I am one of the greatest critics of MJC, I am starting to believe that there was some real bitterness between MC & RP.

    Sportsmen are funny beings .... they have lucky charms, special items of clothing (would love to know the story about Rogers' tattered old forearm protector) and perform rituals on days when they have to play. For me, MJC loves playing No.5. MJC is a No.5 Batsman. One thing I know about MJC is that when he gets past 35-runs he is set and usually very difficult to get out. All the little voices in his head would be saying " Why don't they leave me at No.5 where I have scored over 25 100's?"

    So Clarke comes in when the ball is a bit older (why I prefer Cowan over Warner) giving him a better chance of getting past 35 and making a greater contribution.

    MEH was the best batsman by far in the last Ashes tour and there was no pressure on him to move up the order

    One day people will understand this is a team sport

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 25, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    But Mr Ponting this issue was finalised and consluded years ago: Clarke won't move up the order and out of the protective bubble of the middle order because his average would drop overnight to around 20, he lacks the skill. Don't you remember India? The same questions were answered then.

  • on October 25, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I think Waugh had a weakness against absolute pace, which was hidden somewhat lower down the order.

  • _Australian_ on October 25, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    I usually agree with Ponting. But I don't agree at all that your best bat should be at 3. They should be in the position they want so as to get the best from them.

  • Barnesy4444 on October 25, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with Clarke coming in at 4. He was soft there for a while coming in at 5 while sending in inexperienced players above him. I do like Ponting's attitude to simply say it as it is. I hope he decides to take a senior role within the national test team.

  • on October 25, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Far be it for me to argue with a player of Pontings stature, but there are plenty of brilliant players, legendary batsman in fact, who came in at number 4. Still i like Ponting's straight forward nature - i always have.

  • RightArmEverything on October 25, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    I think Waugh's and Clarke's situations are very different. Ponting's point is more relevant to Clarke because he inherited a weaker batting side than Waugh. Ponting and Hussey were on the way out and not in the form of their younger days and the younger players were struggling. I think Clarke should have batted at 3 earlier instead of thrusting Khawaja or Hughes into it, but now I think they should stick with the order settled on in the last Ashes (Watson at 3). Waugh could have batted higher but I'm not sure it was necessary given the team's success. Ponting's view is identical to Ian Chappell and both of them make me want to listen.

  • Hardy1 on October 25, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    With the amount of runs he was making at no.5 I don't think there was any need for Clarke to bat at no.3.

  • Green_and_Gold on October 25, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @NinoCulotta - there is a difference between the best batsman and form. Ponting was the best batsman in the side even with clarke there. Ideally he should have allowed clarke to come into #4 and have the new guys come in at 6. That would have been better succession planning. Its just a shame that ponting didnt find his form as he said - he lost the mind game.

  • SpadeaSpade on October 25, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Yeah move him away from where his scored 28 of his 31 test centuries. IMO number threee has to be an effective player of the short ball a Player that will not be dominated by intimidation. Hence why once again IMO Waugh and Clarke are natural middle order players whilst they can play the short ball they never fill you with confidence that they can score freely.

  • ian2208 on October 25, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Get him in at 3 where Broad can rough him up with some short stuff with a nice, hard, new ball! There's a good reason he bats further down, he knows he cannot handle that short stuff. He might be good but he's still scared.

  • NinoCulotta on October 25, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Ponting undermines his own argument here. If he sincerely believed that the best batsman should bat at first drop he should have offered to step down from the position for the last two years of his Test career and insisted that Clarke played there. But he didn't, so he doesn't believe his own argument.

  • xtrafalgarx on October 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @azzaman. You are missing the point. It's not about batting where you feel comfortable, it's about batting where it best suits the team. We have an inexperienced side and yet they have been sending out young batsman in one of the most pivotal positions in a batting order and they have crumbled under the pressure.

    Ponting never said he preferred to bat there, he did it because he was the man best suited to play there. Clarke, instead of protecting himself from pressure situations should have sucked in up and batted no.3 when ponting wasn't there to help the young guys settle in to the middle order.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on October 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    I dont agree with Punter. If we go by this logic, that the best batsman has to bat at 3 to be 30-1 instead 30-4 theny why not send your best batsman to open the Inng to be 30-0 ?

  • Alexk400 on October 25, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Best counter attacking batsman should be there. If you can soak up pressure and play normal game then you are number 3. Best batsman should bat where he get max out of his potential. Number 3 player should absorb pressure and good runner. Because sometime when there is pressure , you forgot to take singles and put yourself more pressure. I really think though you really need FITTEST , Strong minded player. You need a fighter..ok ok...everyone have their opinion of what is number3.

  • azzaman333 on October 25, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Your best batsmen bats where your best batsman feels most comfortable, whether that be opening, 3, 4, 5 or even 6. Just because Ponting preferred to bat at 3 while he was our best batsman doesn't mean Clarke should bat there.

  • Mayaro_Man on October 25, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Waugh might argue that the best batsman should bat 4 or 5 because the first few are specialists and should cope but the side also needs to eke runs out of the lower order who are not equipped that way. Take for example Waugh, Allan Border, Hussey and in a different way Gilly. Sobers batted in the middle order his entire career and who would dispute that he was not the best of his generation. Same can be said today of Chanderpaul and in ODI's Bailey (as we have seen so dramatically of late). Ponting's views are valid though but probably better suited to a side in which everyone averages in the 40s, as his teams did or that of Viv. Cricketers today also need to be versatile and bat to conditions. look at Dhoni for instance or Mahela or DeVilliers. Ricky was one of the greats though and it was a pleasure to see him in full cry.

  • on October 25, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    I like the Ian chappell theory. which is sorta have your best bat there - but it's really more (my interpretation of why he thinks that) having someone who is able to change tempo. block for a bit if needed (be an opener for all intents); counter-attack when needed; really go on with it if you get a flyer.

    Chappelli had that ability. I don't think my man Watto does. interestingly, Rogers showed a few different tempos in the last series. I wouldn't have had him in my team, but he might be as good a 3 as we have.

  • trav29 on October 25, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    the problem with saying its ok for Clarke to bat where he is most comfortable is twofold

    firstly if the team are consistently losing early wickets and hes coming in at 30-3 all the time then hes still going to be facing the new ball anyway

    more importantly , setting big scores as a team is all about partnerships and by coming in at #5 he is limiting the number of possible partnerships he can have with another proper batsman. he got away with it when he had hussy batting behind him but now the #6 is unreliable hes not getting many opportunities to make a big partnership before he ends up with the tail

  • Nutcutlet on October 25, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    I can see the point of Clarke coming in at #3 in the current Oz XI; he's head & shoulders above any of the other bats and sending in the best bat at first drop in this side gives the best chance of establishing stability to the innings and taking the initiative away from the opposition: it's sound thinking by Punter, things being the way they are. In a side with a bit more confidence, however, I'd argue that the best bat could be #4. If things have gone quite well (say 100-2), c thirty overs have elapsed and the sting of the opening bowlers has been drawn. The moment should be right for building a substantial & possibly match-winning score; it's the time & place for the most destructive bat to take the game away from the oppo. That said, the Don batted mostly at #3; Wally Hammond at #4; George Headley at #3 and of course, Tendulkar bats at #4. Ultimately, it must be where a particular batsman feels the most comfortable, but IMO #5 should not be a regular option for the star turn!

  • CCricFFan on October 25, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    going by the theory your best batsman should bat at the most difficult position then it has to be open the innings playing first ball ...cuz ball is new and thats the most difficult position ... and most of the team have their best batsman batting at number 3 or 4 throughout history .... and i feel they should play where they are comfortable playing and in my opinion clarke best position is either number 4 and 5 where he feels comfortable.

  • jimbond on October 25, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    In those days Waugh was the best batsman, and was doing fine coming down the order. This enabled Waugh to launch rearguard actions and enabled him to build innings with the tail (which was also within his capability). Its a team game, and the best batsmen should play in positions from where they can contribute to the success of the team. Clarke is right now the best batsman in the team and should bat at the position where he feels most comfortable. Whether he should be captain is a different issue altogether. I agree with Ponting that Clarke's role as captain has been a bit dysfunctional. I would root for Clarke at No. 5 and Bailey as captain and at No. 6.

  • on October 25, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    This just proves what a success Ricky was and should still be playing. Maybe we should send the bowlers in first and save the batters when the the shine is off the ball and opposition bowlers are tired, but isn't that the job of the openers it doesn't matter where you bat when you have a competent top order.

  • prosanto on October 25, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @heathrf1974. Clarke is facing new ball anyways as you have seen recently AUS are down 30/3. it doesn't matter if Clarke comes at 5. so the best thing he needs to come at 3, face the new ball, save wkts and give other batsmen confidence.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on October 25, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Pretty much every time Clarke has come in at three, it's hardly been a roaring success has it? If one of the best batsmen that's ever played in the middle order is comfortable playing in the middle order, then maybe it's best he stays in the middle order. It's all very well past players like Ponting who had solid, consistent openers and a strong team in general prospering at 3, but for Clarke playing now with no regular, settled openers and no reliable number 3 contenders - it's really like comparing apples with oranges again.

  • balajik1968 on October 25, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    The basic reason Ponting is saying this is that nobody has settled into the no. 3 position ever since he vacated it. Clarke seems to have a certain comfort level at 5. Maybe he is not mentally equipped to be possibly playing 2nd ball of the innings. Later in his career Viv Richards went down the order, so did Sobers to provide the lower order with some heft. Landl 47 you are right about Trott; right now England's best batsman on form has to be Bell.

  • on October 25, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    I agree that the best batsman should usually come in at 3, however, it's not always the best option when the best batsman is captain and when there's a lot of inexperience in the team.

    I think Punter was well suited to the No.3 role and he was playing in a very successful side. Things changed when he became captain and actually I'd have liked to see him slip down the order in the 2010/11 Ashes, as he was still probably the best batsman and he needed to take on a Border/Waugh type role.

    Looking at his reason for not doing so well near the end it may have helped him to have batted at 5.

    So no, I don't think Clarke should bat at #3.

  • Ozcricketwriter on October 25, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    I completely disagree. Players should bat where they feel comfortable. Michael Hussey was Australia's best batsman before he retired but he never batted at 3. Nor should he.

  • heathrf1974 on October 25, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Clarke's not very good at playing off the back foot, so the new ball is too difficult for him. Warner or Hughes should be at number 3.

  • Naresh28 on October 25, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    AH....one of the best Oz captains. Clearly shows his thinking and team building. Great captain Ponting. Oz cricket is on the wane now and with Clarkes fitness problems things are probably at their worst. Someone like Bailey could be a better option. Having said that, I see new players emerging and maybe with time Oz can be back where they were.

  • Chris_P on October 25, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @landl47. Add Allan Border & Greg Chappell to that mix as well, not a bad lot of batsmen coming down the order I would suggest. Of course Punter is entitled to his opinion, but not with him on this one.

  • landl47 on October 25, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    And yet Steve Waugh was an extremely successful captain. So was Clive Lloyd, who batted at #5 for WI. Some of the best captains I've seen- Benaud, Illingworth, Imran Khan- weren't specialist batsmen so batted down the order.

    Whether the best batsman should bat #3 is arguable, but Sobers was the best batsman I ever saw and he rarely batted at 3; in the current England side I don't think you could say that Trott is the best batsman. And, of course, there are sides in which the best batsman is one of the openers- Gavaskar, for example.

    Ponting is saying how he personally felt about it, but there's no evidence that batting #3 makes a player, a captain or a side more successful.

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    I never understood why he dropped down the order really and still don't, what's worse is that neither Huss or Pup were pushed up to no.3 in his place, instead we've had 3 years of putting our most promising young batsmen straight into the fire. Well done!

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    My best Ashes xi 2013-14:» Warner Marsh Watson Clarke Smith Bailey Haddin Faulkner Johnson Harris Lyon. 12th- Siddle...... Others in consideration- Finch White Hughes Starc Fawad Khawaja Hazlewood.

  • VVSR92 on October 25, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    Valid point by ponting. All the teams in the past have had success by batting their best @3. Ponting is an example himsleves. Dominating the game from start puts the oppoisition on back foot.

  • xtrafalgarx on October 25, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Punter is a legend, brutally honest and straight forward.

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    yes..agree with Punter..captain always should be leading from the front..set the example for other..just like Punter done when he was Playing...

  • AB_DeVilliers on October 25, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    As much as I despised you and your fellow teammates for the consistent bashings you gave us saffers, I truly believe you were a cut above the rest. Magnificent player.

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Hats off to Punter for telling it like it is/was. He wasn't the most popular Aus captain by a long shot, but you can't fault his commitment, honesty and self-analysis.

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    yes Clarke should bat at no3 and Bailey at no4 ...

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    yes Clarke should bat at no3 and Bailey at no4 ...

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Hats off to Punter for telling it like it is/was. He wasn't the most popular Aus captain by a long shot, but you can't fault his commitment, honesty and self-analysis.

  • AB_DeVilliers on October 25, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    As much as I despised you and your fellow teammates for the consistent bashings you gave us saffers, I truly believe you were a cut above the rest. Magnificent player.

  • on October 25, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    yes..agree with Punter..captain always should be leading from the front..set the example for other..just like Punter done when he was Playing...

  • xtrafalgarx on October 25, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Punter is a legend, brutally honest and straight forward.

  • VVSR92 on October 25, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    Valid point by ponting. All the teams in the past have had success by batting their best @3. Ponting is an example himsleves. Dominating the game from start puts the oppoisition on back foot.

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    My best Ashes xi 2013-14:» Warner Marsh Watson Clarke Smith Bailey Haddin Faulkner Johnson Harris Lyon. 12th- Siddle...... Others in consideration- Finch White Hughes Starc Fawad Khawaja Hazlewood.

  • on October 25, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    I never understood why he dropped down the order really and still don't, what's worse is that neither Huss or Pup were pushed up to no.3 in his place, instead we've had 3 years of putting our most promising young batsmen straight into the fire. Well done!

  • landl47 on October 25, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    And yet Steve Waugh was an extremely successful captain. So was Clive Lloyd, who batted at #5 for WI. Some of the best captains I've seen- Benaud, Illingworth, Imran Khan- weren't specialist batsmen so batted down the order.

    Whether the best batsman should bat #3 is arguable, but Sobers was the best batsman I ever saw and he rarely batted at 3; in the current England side I don't think you could say that Trott is the best batsman. And, of course, there are sides in which the best batsman is one of the openers- Gavaskar, for example.

    Ponting is saying how he personally felt about it, but there's no evidence that batting #3 makes a player, a captain or a side more successful.

  • Chris_P on October 25, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @landl47. Add Allan Border & Greg Chappell to that mix as well, not a bad lot of batsmen coming down the order I would suggest. Of course Punter is entitled to his opinion, but not with him on this one.