Coach finishes seven-year Test reign in Sydney January 1, 2007

Buchanan deserves praise for outstanding record


Ricky Ponting says the Australians have produced some amazing results under John Buchanan © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has praised the work of the coach John Buchanan for much of Australia's recent success and believes his successor has an enormous role to fill. While the retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer dominate Australia's view of the fifth Test at Sydney from Tuesday, it is also Buchanan's final Test in charge.

Buchanan, 53, will stand down after the World Cup in West Indies in April and a search is underway for his replacement. Ponting's comments come after Kevin Pietersen claimed the Australian coach was not respected by his own players.

Ponting said Buchanan and his support staff had been overlooked for a long time and deserved to share in the side's achievements. "They have to accept some of the accolades that come the team's way," Ponting said at the SCG. "You look at the standard of cricket that we've been able to play over a long period of time.

"Just before John took over and certainly right through his stint as coach we've played some amazing cricket. Even this current run, we've won 11 matches on the trot. That doesn't happen every day either. The coach has got to take a lot of the credit for that."

Langer, who announced his Test retirement today, described Buchanan as "the great visionary". "I've learned so much from John Buchanan," Langer said. "He's an outstanding person and an outstanding coach. His vision was monumental in the success we've had over the last few years."

Buchanan has the exceptional record of 68 wins in 89 Tests in charge, and having started with 15 consecutive victories in 1999-2001, he could finish with 12 straight successes. "He's been coaching a very skilled and very talented team," Ponting said. "What you've seen some of those players do has been a lot of the time pretty extraordinary, so he's got to take a lot of the credit for that."

Tom Moody, the former Test and one-day allrounder who is currently with Sri Lanka, and Tim Nielsen, a previous Australia assistant coach, are the front-runners to replace Buchanan.