June 30, 2009

Ashes 2009

Ponting the mellow 'England' skipper

Peter English

Things are a bit confusing in Worcester this week, with Australians sitting on both sides of the fence, and even Ricky Ponting forgot his allegiance. With two of his former coaches, John Buchanan and Dene Hills, in the ground working with the England Lions ahead of Wednesday’s tour game, Ponting referred to himself as “captain of England”.

The correction came instantly – “er, captain of Australia” – but it was a revealing slip to a question over whether his outlook had mellowed since 2005. “Not as a competitor, not as a cricketer,” he said. “I hope I am as competitive as I’ve ever been on a cricket field. Things away from the field are pretty good, although I have been away for five weeks from the little one [his baby daughter Emmy].”

Buchanan, who guided Australia for seven years, spoke to the Lions and England Under-16 squads and felt comfortable working across the oval from his old team. Hills, a former assistant to Buchanan and state team-mate of Ponting, is part of the local coaching staff. The game no longer contains state secrets.

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Peter English is former Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo

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