December 28, 2010

Ashes

Ponting loses control

Sahil Dutta

Ricky Ponting is a man under immense pressure and he blew his top in spectacular and ugly fashion when he remonstrated with Aleem Dar over an unsuccessful review. With the Australian press sharpening their knives already it wasn’t a smart move.

Malcolm Conn in the Australian says Ponting has ‘punched another hole in Australia’s oft mentioned spirit of cricket pledge’.

The statesman's cloth which has been sewn piece by piece around Ponting for much of the past decade fell away again when he took exception to a video referral involving a caught-behind against Kevin Pietersen which went in the batsman's favour. Ponting's disrobing revealed the Mowbray street fighter. The kid who would have given as good as he got playing Australian football against the men of Launceston in a previous sporting life. It appears as though the mounting frustration of a difficult summer all came bubbling out.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Roebuck has often questioned Ponting’s spirit, notably following the Sydney 2008 win against India, and he feels Ponting’s outburst was the sign of a man nearing the end of the road.

Every captain sooner or later reaches the end of his tether. Greg Chappell admitted he was unfit to lead his country on the day of the underarm ball. He had been too long on the road. By the look of things yesterday, Ricky Ponting's stamina, one of his assets, is fast running out. If so, it would hardly be surprising.

In the same paper Greg Baum adds his view to the incident.

Ponting's despair was understandable, but his pursuit of the matter was unseemly and too protracted. It betrayed the agitated state of mind of a man for whom cricket has turned sour. Ponting has only muted public sympathy. Seemingly, he is a victim of his times. Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh took Australia to the top. Ponting has won more games than any of them, but also has had to be both manager and public face of the rocky decline. He has not found it easy.

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Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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