England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's, 3rd day

Strain shows on Ponting

The Australia captain missed a run out, dropped a catch and has much to ponder

Peter English at Lord's

July 18, 2009

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting reflects on his drop catch, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, 3rd day, July 18, 2009
Down on his knees: Ricky Ponting has had a tough few days © PA Photos
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In a week Ricky Ponting has gone from a captain in charge to an under-siege leader whose control is slipping. A match that began with Spirit of Cricket issues surrounding Ponting's response to the draw in Cardiff has quickly resulted in Australia losing theirs. If they save this match - they enter the fourth day 521 behind - it will be as stunning as England's effort in the opening Test.

Last Sunday Ponting was expecting his team to roar to victory but as James Anderson and Monty Panesar held on the skipper showed his first grumpy signs, walking towards the umpire to question a decision and arguing, with justification, about England's support staff wasting time. Off the field he has been calm, friendly and approachable, but on it his mood can change like the English weather. This is a man who grew up winning, making hundreds and being feted. Life in his 30s has become more challenging and significantly less successful.

Despite playing down, by his standards, the time wasting at Sophia Gardens, it became a major issue in between Tests and since then whenever he has been involved in anything remotely controversial he has been jeered by the Lord's crowd. No Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath leave Ponting as the main target. He is the only relic from the teams that dominated England before 2005, making him the most recognisable Australian player to local supporters. He is also the most important member of the side, setting the strategies, the example and the run-scoring lead. During this match he has not yet succeeded in any role.

Australia were already falling apart when Ponting experienced six deliveries that showed his mind was losing not only its ruthlessness, but also its focus. The day before he was stunned to be given out to a ball he didn't hit - it should have been lbw instead, but that didn't ease Ponting's disgust - and after the third umpire gave him out he stood still for moment, opened his mouth and stared at Rudi Koertzen, the on-field official. As he walked to the pavilion, turning his head back occasionally, he was booed by the usually polite Lord's crowd. That was not abnormal behaviour from the leader, but the two mistakes in the field were distinctly un-Ponting.

Kevin Pietersen was disorientated after an inswinger from Ben Hilfenhaus resulted in an lbw appeal and was more interested in the umpire's decision than where the ball had gone as he stumbled around the pitch. It had gone to Ponting at second slip: all the wickets were visible, Pietersen was metres from safety and Ponting's arm is one of the deadliest in the game. He missed.

Standing at the same spot in the following over, Ponting spilled what should have been a comfortable catch off a Ravi Bopara push. The bowler Peter Siddle was so stunned he bent over and grabbed his head in both hands. It's not the reaction a young fast man usually displays when his captain drops one.

Ponting's fingers were facing towards the sky as he crouched down for the take when they needed to be pointing at the ground. A fielder of Ponting's standard might miss one of those chances in a year at practice, but he did it twice in a couple of minutes. His side's distress has changed the way he thinks. It used to be that if a bowler was struggling Ponting could throw the ball to the next man and wait for the results. Now he can't even trust himself.

These errors occurred after he brought off Nathan Hauritz, who had removed both openers in two overs after lunch and did not bowl again until the third session, when he picked up Bopara. The effective swing of Hilfenhaus was used until tea instead, achieving lots of close calls, including two French cuts from Pietersen, but no breakthroughs. Ponting's hunch hadn't work. Arms were waved at fielders and his fingers spent a lot of time rubbing his chin without the appropriate inspiration.

In the over before tea Ponting was frustrated again, initiating a conversation with Pietersen in the aftermath of a debatable catch by Hauritz at mid-on. With hands in pockets, Ponting walked up to the batsman via the umpire Koetzen. He swears his players don't claim catches unless they are out, but his calls for a gentleman's agreement on these types of rulings have been rejected by all opposing captains. They don't trust the Australians either.

In five innings at Lord's Ponting has 72 runs and he started this game hoping to continue Australia's streak of not losing at the home of cricket since 1934. Four years ago he was in charge when his team handed back the urn after 16 years. England supporters have got it wrong. They should be cheering Ponting's Ashes contributions, not booing them.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Copernicus on (July 20, 2009, 4:58 GMT)

@Racyrao: First of all, I'm Canadian - so hardly a green and gold eyed fanatic. Secondly, I quite dislike Ponting and agree that he is generally a poor sportsman and a hypocrite (especially in the India-Australia series). However, I was simply pointing out that the Indians cannot possibly claim the moral high ground on this point given how they carried on - no matter how many poor decisions Australia gets in this match or series, I can't see Ponting threatening to boycott the Ashes unless his demands are met.

Posted by CharonTFm on (July 19, 2009, 23:08 GMT)

Ponting is a great Captain as records have shown, he has taken Aus most inexperienced side and had thoroughly beaten South Africa, the worlds best team at the stage whether the rankings show it or not. He scored a magnificent 150 at cardiff only a week before, and just because he's not performing he gets a pummelling from the media.

England has a good team, and it is very interesting to see them play. As for the controversial catch by Strauss, I'm sure he thought it was a genuine catch, at the heat of International Cricket, where the weight of the country is on your shoulder with the adrenaline pumping you become unsure. That is why the role of umpires are important, if players feel they have caught it, their integrity shouldn't be questioned, it should be up to the third umpire with technology to see whether that was genuinely out or not. Onfield umpires have enough stress as it is, so the third umpire should be given the power to help make decisions easier.

Posted by CharonTFm on (July 19, 2009, 23:02 GMT)

Indians, there is no doubt that the current indian team are good. But I am sick and tired of hearing how great they are and they should be world Champions. You guys are the worse fans ever...funny how when you're players aren't performing you start to burn their pictures, and funny you can talk about the "spirit of the game". Learn to be better supporters of your team before you start bagging Aus.

Posted by Racyrao on (July 19, 2009, 14:02 GMT)

Currently the English cricketers are PLAYING HARD(as the aussies say) just like the Australians. And guys just stop complaining about the umpiring decisions and Strauss claiming the bump catch. Austalians would have claimed it had they taken a bump catch, make no mistakes and no need to mention the names of those elite sportsman from the aussie team. This is cricket and it is bound to happen until technology is used. About Ponting confronting the umpire, i am sure he would have been left scott free had he done that. The way the aussies are performing i would not be surprised if he does that if a few more go against the aussies in the ashes series.

Posted by Cricket14 on (July 19, 2009, 13:17 GMT)

It is good read i think Ponting has been one of the great player Australia has produced but i do not agree with some coments regarding umpires being on same side as home side this has happend a lot in Australia where visiting team have been on receiving end specialy teams from sub-continet, it is good to see Australia on receiving end for once

Posted by xxjames0988 on (July 19, 2009, 13:08 GMT)

I agree with popcorn 100%....England are CHEATS.....time wasting in cardiff.....and strauss claiming a catch after it hit the ground....and katich was out off a no ball....andrew strauss should be sacked as captain he has ZERO integrity

Posted by popcorn on (July 19, 2009, 12:15 GMT)

Rudi Koertzen has done it again! Not once, but twice! First,he did not see it was a "no ball" that Flintoff bowled to get Katich out. Next, he peculiarly, unfairly, chose not to refer to the third umpire for a catch that Strauss (the cheater) claimed he caught - though yesrterday, Rudi chose to go to the third umpire for a catch that Hauritz took. To add insult to injury, Rudi asked Billy Doctrove standing 40 mteres away where the ball was caught fairly. CAN YOU SEE EVEN 22 YARDS AT THAT SPEED,you so -called 100 Tests experienced umpire? Ricky Ponting should have walked off the field, whatever the consequences.Enough is enough. How can Australia be expected to win when the umpire is on the side of the opposition, and the opposite captain, Strauss doesn't understand what is meant by "playing to the spirit of the game"?

Posted by bad_boy on (July 19, 2009, 11:48 GMT)

People it is time to move on from McGrath or Warne. they are gone...

Posted by Youngrichie on (July 19, 2009, 11:46 GMT)

You highlight Ponting's bad points but the English players' "carry on" when they took his wicket shows just what a great player he is. His performances over a long period prove that-journalistic nit picking such as this, show how hard up this journailist would be if Ponting wasn't playing.

Posted by jidoz on (July 19, 2009, 11:41 GMT)

Wow, just who are you Peter English? You should stick to editing rather than writing, because the ability to spot a missed comma and the ability to make intelligent comment are worlds apart and from reading this article, I think most would recognise just how woefully ill-equipped you are to make intelligent comment. If you can't resist the temptation to attempt to provide some original work, do us all a favour and stick to reporting facts. Don't simply jump on the Lord's crowd bandwagon of revelling in Ponting's misfortune, sticking the knife in under a thin veneer of "analysis". And as for your coaching class on how to take a catch in slips, let me know when you've played a test or even a first class game or even a social match. Until then, just shut up. Remember that readers of your "articles" are likely to be cricket fans who probably know more about cricket than you do (it's almost inconceivable that they could know less) so don't insult our intelligence.

Posted by fulleraaron on (July 19, 2009, 11:29 GMT)

A few readers have said that the article is too harsh on Ponting - that's not the way I read it. The point is that Ponting may not be quite what he was (either as a captain or batsman) but if not, then it's only because he's lipped from 'great' to 'very good'.

Posted by ozkev on (July 19, 2009, 11:14 GMT)

I look forward to the article from Mr English calling the England captain a cheat for claiming a catch which was not. TRhe dismissal of Hughes was less of a questionable one than the Hauritz claimed catch the previous innings. Maybe the English, both on and off the field, are not to be trusted.

Posted by blackerthanyourhate on (July 19, 2009, 11:04 GMT)

yea good ole punter...its time for him to retire now...give the old man a break

Posted by ak973 on (July 19, 2009, 10:48 GMT)

I hv never heard any other team say anything about the spirit of the game - everyone knows that in the heat of battle the spirit is forgotten. Thats the reason they dont sound hypocrites. Here Ponting goes on and on about spirit of the game and it comes to bite on his back side. I reckon its a bit rich of the worst behaved side to say that they behave properly just becos the referees dont hv balls enough to penalise them. There are so many instances of Indians getting penalised for the same act that the Aussies get away with. I reckon its a good thing that BCCI is the richest board and can get away with things otherwise we wud hv boors like Lilee and Marsh who had one yardstick for English players and other for sub-continent's players. Read Miandads book for further clarification. So I say more power to India.

Posted by alidaas on (July 19, 2009, 10:40 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is GREAT!!! The players around him are not helping him to win more matches now. Players like Michael Clarke, Simon Katich have to show that they can win matches, since they are around for more than 4 years now.

Posted by mayukhg on (July 19, 2009, 10:38 GMT)

Ponting has just proved the age old adage correct - "A captain is as good as the team he leads". For nearly a decade he led a team of legends where each and every member stood up to be counted. But now he leads a team of average (by aussie standards) players.

I think if he can turn this team around to winning ways it will show his true mettle as captain/leader

Posted by popcorn on (July 19, 2009, 9:12 GMT)

What do you expect when his spearhead bowler cannot perform? Did you say the same trash about Allan Border when he was rebuilding the Australian team after the sudden retirements of Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee? I suggest you be objective, not proine to knee-jerk judgements,Mr.Peter English.

Posted by popcorn on (July 19, 2009, 9:08 GMT)

I wish Ricky Ponting had confronted Rudi Koertzen for wrongly giving him out, even if he would have been fined 100% of his match fee. He would have been a martyr to the cause of fairness. ALL Cricketers would have praised him, and Rudi Koertzen, and ICC would have looked stupid. Are professional cricketers expected to be mute schoolchildren accepting the failures of umpiring? Rudi Koertzen has learnt NOTHING in his 100 Tests of umpiring. If he wanted to refer his doubt, he should have referred to the third umpire whether the bat hit the ball. Also, standing 22 yards away, how in divine light could he have seen a feathertouch of Philip Hughes' glove touching the ball and given him out? Rudi Koertzen, Billy Doctove and other so -called elite umpires (except Simon Taufel) have done great harm to the careers and fortunes of Cricketing Sides. It is time they were hauled up in public to atone for their sins. Remember how India got Steve Bucknor sacked? When will this farce end?

Posted by popcorn on (July 19, 2009, 9:01 GMT)

Mr.Peter English, are you a serious cricket writer? You seem to be one who "blows with the wind" - one who makes "instant,knee-jerk " judgements. You forgot to acknowledge that Ponting made a brilliant declaration in the Cardiff Test (which Sir Ian Bothanm acknowledges) and nearly handed England an innings defeat. You forget to acknowledge that Ponting led Australia to a 5 nil Ashes victory in 2006 -07 - the first in 86 years. You made no mention of the sitter that Shane Warne dropped in the slips off his Hampshire mate(?) Kevin Pietersen in the Oval Test 2005,and KP went on to make 158, and Shane Warne effectively handed The Ashes back to England. You forget the ghastly umpiring of Rudi Koertzen - I wish Ricky Ponting had confronted Rudi Koertzen for wrongly giving him out, even if he would have been fined 100% of his match fee. He would have been a martyr to the cause of fairness. ALL Cricketers would have praised him, and Rudi Koertzen, and ICC would have looked stupid.Sic.

Posted by 100_not_out on (July 19, 2009, 8:32 GMT)

It is easy to criticise someone from your computer. I captain my local side and I find it stressful enough just doing that. Trying to keep every one focused and on task, whilst trying to win at the same time. Not only does Ponting have this pressure but also the hopes of a Nation riding on his shoulders, with the media ready to criticise his every move, it would be enough to turn any man crazy.

Posted by bodge on (July 19, 2009, 8:20 GMT)

I think this is all a bit harsh on Ricky- 11110 runs at 56 and a half, 150 in his previous test match, captained an inexperienced team to victory in South Africa, 5-0 in the last Ashes series.... I think his record as captain would make any modern day captain apart from Steve Waugh jealous. And sure, Australia is a team in transition without the superstars of the past, but since the 2005 Ashes Australia has still won more Tests than they have lost, the only series losses being to India in India (he was thefirst Aussie captain to taste success there for 30 years in the previous tour) and SA in Aus. Carry on Ricky.

Posted by ragsgullu on (July 19, 2009, 8:18 GMT)

Well i'm an indian but i'm really surprised to hear people still speaking about the sydney incident. Yes it will be a bad moment in history, but people give it a rest. Lets look up to the future. That series had bad moments for both teams as bhaji had a go at symmo and haydos taking it off the field too. Then comes the ponting controversy. The captain's agreement for dismissals is one of the most absurd stuff i have ever heard. What's the use of having lot of technologies when captains word is enough to decide the dismissal. But people should think the greatness of the talent that ponting have even though australian batting have hardly under pressure as they had a great bowling attack to impose themselves on the opposition. People should give respect for what he has done. Its high time to stop yelling about the spirit of the game as that itself for me is violating the spirit

Posted by GAMAGE on (July 19, 2009, 8:05 GMT)

alomost everybody who have posted comments are worshipping this much overrated English team. This is a media hype. I am no fan of Australia either. But all Pundits have forgotton that England had the best day for batting where sun shone and ball did not move whereas the Australians had a precarious day which was ideal for seam bowling and Flintoff bowl really well to disturb Australian batsmen. Several rain interruptions did not contribute positively to Australian cause. The ridiculous decision by the two umpires to give Ponting out also damage the Australian psyche. This is not the first time Rudi has given poor and illogical decisions. He gave Kumar Sangakkara out in Hobart when the batsman was on 192 and the ball hit Sangakkara's shoulder. He did not consult the third umpire! Sure, Australians will lose the match at Lords and English commentators and print media will have a few field days thereafter forgetting that there was no McGrath or Warne to play against!

Posted by gzawilliam on (July 19, 2009, 7:46 GMT)

I think this is unfair on ponting really. He has lost so much of his tactical stability in losing warne and mcgrath. People need to understand he played a long time with these bowlers in his line up with particular fields and tactical placements. When you replace them with lesser bowlers who aren't used to these fields and need new ones its very hard to perfect. It will take another year at best with the hauritz's , the hilfenhaus's and the siddle's in his lineup to go back to the old aggressive fields.

And if you have been watching his main strike bowler bowl you will see its near impossible to set a field to. He needs a better leader of the bowling pack with more confident skills before the series is lost and he may walk away from all cricket due to the frustration of it all.

Posted by Racyrao on (July 19, 2009, 7:26 GMT)

Copernicus and the other Australian supporters - I think people tend to make a reference to the India - Aus series because that was a series which brought the sportsmanship of the aussies to the fore. If i remember correctly Kumble was aggrieved after the Sydney test and mentioned in the post match conference that " only one team played with the right sprit and that was India" I tend to agree with him. Ponting and Kumble had a trust pact before the start of the series and unfortunately Ponting and his deputy (Michael Clarke) were the first to break it. My Aussie friends, India does not whinge on the dismissals of Dravid or Ganguly in that match, but it certainly does feel betrayed when Ponting gives someone out (when it was not out) instead of the umpire and when Clarke claims a bump catch when the pact was on. Oh and did i hear an aussie whinge about racial abuse in that match? was it proved? It just goes to show that if the aussies are not winning they are whinging.

Posted by lazo on (July 19, 2009, 7:21 GMT)

All this controversy and criticism of Ponting will soon be switched to England. How do I know this? Strauss will bat on and on towards 600 before declaring. He does not have much faith in his bowlers (apart from Flintoff who cannot give 100% for long stints) and will be influenced by Australia's efforts in coasting to over 600 in the 1st Test. Yes this pitch has more in it but the English bowlers are not up to exploiting it. So Strauss will bat too long and the bowlers will be exposed. The match will drawn but not before Australia give it a real shake. The rain may come but it will save England.

Posted by sushantsingh on (July 19, 2009, 7:05 GMT)

Well said NIPUN. you are right in looking at indian batsman records in SA, they are poor also in pakistan . every player can't have same good record against every country. so it is useless to talk about . and the indian fans always think that their player is best in the world , i am also a indian but i am fed up of this. when i ask my friends & collegues about who is the best left-hand bat of our time they all say ganguly , what a joke this is , can ganguly ever came close to lara,hayden,gilly , And for Ponting he is a true champion & will bounce back , ponting dosen't need any type of sportsmanship certificate from u guys . HE IS WHAT HE IS. i have seen 2003 WC final in which ganguly claimed a grounded catch then where was the sportsmanship gone. First look at yourself then others

Posted by Mid-off on (July 19, 2009, 6:51 GMT)

Regarding the 'take' by Nathan Hauritz off Ravi Bopara just before tea on Saturday of the second Test, the TV commentators wondered what the umpire's decision was going to be if the replays proved inconclusive.(ie. there was an element of doubt.) Don't the laws of cricket state that the benefit of the doubt should go to the batsman? In fact in so many situations that are referred to the third umpire it should not be difficult to decide - if there is no certainty the laws of cricket require that the decision should be 'not out'. Easy isn't it?

Posted by RaghuramanR on (July 19, 2009, 6:50 GMT)

I think people especially English and Indians are going into hair splitting over trivial issues. Australia may lose this match or even Ashes. As captain of the team, Ponting takes the responsibility. Beyond this, I dont think there is any point in talking about 'spirit of the game' which differs on each of the few countries playing this game. I dont think English or for that matter Indians need to talk of 'moral', 'ethical' issues as long as the game was played by the rules. Ponting's statements about 'needless' delay in the Cardiff match just shows that he rues over letting that possible win peter into a draw. No point in muddling this with 'who was the better sport?' contest or any kind of 'one-up-manship'.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (July 19, 2009, 6:48 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is one of the most defensive captains the world has ever seen. Maybe these tactics are understandable with the current hopeless Australian bowling attack, but even in 2005, when they had one of the best bowling attacks, Ponting was so defensive. Yet some of the hypocrite Australian commentators like Ian Chappell hardly mention this. They bash captains like Graeme Smith or even MS Dhoni for having an 8-1 field, but keep praising Ponting. Even worse is Mark Nicholas who almost worships Ponting.

Posted by XaViVeK on (July 19, 2009, 6:32 GMT)

Ricky Ponting in his years of captaincy has definitely proved his worth. There's no match to his aggressive captaincy. He will always be remembered as the one who lifted his game when it most mattered. He has given a lot to this game of cricket and lived up to the tradition of Test cricket. One cannot expect a convincing performance by a legend every time round. Australia is in its transition phase and Ricky has had to do a lot of thinking in order to make his team competitive. With his side loosing legends, one cannot expect him to be as cool as ever. Ricky cannot be blamed for his actions and we should just summarize it as a bad day in the field.

Posted by SammoC on (July 19, 2009, 6:29 GMT)

just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot.. if it was england batting and ponting had taken the 'catch' and it was givin not out, ponting would'v been in the batsmans ear yelling at him and asking why he didnt walk. that man has a very distorted sense of reality. look at when he was saying brad haddin did nothing wrong when new zealand were touring early this yr when haddin obviously had his gloves infront of the stumps and dragged the ball onto the stumps, i wonder if haddin is stil doing that, they dont show the ball being bowled from side on very often.. but ponting is a complete hypocrite and its really no suprise why noone anywhere likes him.

Posted by aditya.k on (July 19, 2009, 6:06 GMT)

>><snip>as far as I remember, in that series the Indians got one or two poor decisions <snip>

@Copernicus - You have got your facts wrong.

Posted by mahmood_chowdhury on (July 19, 2009, 5:55 GMT)

I m not an Aussie nor an Indian. But to judge nutrally I must say it's always the Indians who cries againts Ponting the great coz they knows deep inside their mind that "The Ponting" is the only man on this earth that will x the limit of Sachin. I guess Indians dont know what is sportsmanship for sure. I have seen Indians behave like idiots on the field, surely not a gentleman. Yes ponting at times overreacts but surely not like Indians.

Posted by Copernicus on (July 19, 2009, 5:24 GMT)

I find it pretty amusing that the India-Australia series is pointed to as an example of Ponting being a poor sportsman - as far as I remember, in that series the Indians got one or two poor decisions (as did the Australians, don't forget) which they then had a big whinge about, successfully had one of the most widely respected umpires in the world away, threatened to pack up and go home if they didn't get their way, and then racially insulted an opponent. I reckon it's a bit rich for this particular pot to be calling the kettle black.

Posted by OtisFirefly on (July 19, 2009, 5:10 GMT)

I cannot believe all the rubbish you guys are writing about Ricky Ponting. He plays the game hard and fair and does his best to be a good captain. He is a marvellous batsmen and inspires his team by his example. And before you think I'm just being a misguided patriotic supporter of Australia I am an England supporter who is utterly fed up with the endless Ponting bashing. So please write about the game and not the personalties.

Posted by Slysta on (July 19, 2009, 4:40 GMT)

There's no point discussing the incident if people dispute the facts - Ponting's bat hit his boot but not the ball, and HotSpot showed this clearly. I don't mind Koertzen being confused or wrong about that, but why the third umpire didn't correct him remains a mystery to me - I can only conclude that he was ignorant of his duties.

It also shows that technology must be "all or nothing" - once Rudi learns there is no bat, he then has to consider an LBW appeal that he didn't really watch in real time because he thought there was bat involved. How does he do that in retrospect? Surely the third umpire must help out? Not under the current rules!

And the catch issue was overblown - Ponting spoke to Rudi and KP but it didn't look heated to me, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Hauritz was entitled to claim the catch, Bopara was entitled to stand his ground, and the third umpire was entitled to make the decision he did (though the catch looked good to my green and gold eyes!).

Posted by the_silent_observer on (July 19, 2009, 4:31 GMT)

All those, who talk about behaviour of Anil Kumble, as a captain, during the 2008 series in Australia, MUST read the posts/articles by Australian writers before castigating him. Australian team's reaction on the filed after taking the last wicket is all for to see. Fooling oneself does not alter the truth.

Yes, Ponting is a champion in the true sense and he has not been having his quota of victory in the recent past (barring the revenge series). his desperation for victory and the resultant demeanour will not yield the results. classic examples of a cool head coming bank from the brink of defeat are abound, with the stand-out ones being Roger Federer (Wimbledon 2009) and Bjorn Borg (many a time). they are remembered more than the brats like John McEnroe.

Posted by cricmania90 on (July 19, 2009, 4:03 GMT)

i think that now picture is much clear for ricky ponting,he much step down from the role of captaincy, i can clearly recall the triangular odi series among aussies,kiwis, and proteans in tht series steve waugh was facing the same problem and as a result of failure in that series he hand over his captaincy to ricky.may be its too early to say, but keeping the standard of aussies cricket ricky might not be favourable for their cricket

Posted by AjayB on (July 19, 2009, 3:48 GMT)

I think Australia is losing their grip. Their players are not as classy as their predecessors and Ponting is not as classy as his predecessors either. His behaviour is quite unlike a classy captain. He complains, throws tantrums, argues and does McEnroe of his playing days proud. He definitely has no class. He is a good batsman, an Australian Miandad perhaps - but not in the class of Taylor or Waugh. That I guess is the place where all their problems started. I guess they still have really good players - the world beating lot - but the captain has made a complete hash of it, and has set the team back a couple of years. You can learn a lot by seeing how someone loses a game, and what we learn of Ponting is not very gratifying. He has been historically un-sportsman-like, take the events of Indias tour, or claims of apology from Vettori or current tantrums. He forgets that, when New Zealand was close to win some years ago, McGrath bowled completely outside leg stump. What trick is that?

Posted by Geraldine on (July 19, 2009, 3:47 GMT)

Until the Australian team start blackmailing umpires or the ICC, and forcing umpires to resign, Indian supporters cannot claim the moral high-ground over Australia. And who can forget MS Dhoni or Ganguly claiming catches they clearly dropped? Australia didn't use the kind of time wasting tactics so shamefully employed by England when they found themselves in a similar position in the Ashes of 05, so they too should avoid moral posturing. It's also dissapointing that the writer claims that teams refuse Australia's gentleman's agreement because they don't trust Australia, when in actual fact they don't employ these agreements when they play other teams. Ponting's offer is the best indication of the trust he has not only in his own players, but in other teams too despite the fact that teams like India have consistently shown that they place too little value in playing the game in the right spirit.

Posted by mithoauau on (July 19, 2009, 3:01 GMT)

My explaination is to Slysta....in the replay it showed that ponting had inside edge then hit the pad thats why Rodi didn' t consider the LBW appeal. Rodi straight away asked his fellow umpire if the catch was carried at first slip. Ball was definitly hit but on the way to slip it didn't touch the ground. So Mr Ponting as it go's around comes around what u did to Indians in 2007/8 series in Australia, you claimed uncaried catches and argued and bullied and cried......you even call McGrath (if some body noticed it) in your dressing room to help you out by watching on Laptop watching English batsmens weekness. its not going to help you at all, Good luck England

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (July 19, 2009, 2:51 GMT)

I love it how Ponting makes a bad call with a claimed catch and now everything bad that happens to him which is he is not happy about people say that he has no place to complain. If Kurtzen asks the third umpire if the catch carried don't you think that the third umpire should also inform Rudi that by the way he did not actually hit the ball? Sure Ponting is probably not going to win any spirit of cricket awards but does that mean that we should ignore everything that he says? It is all too easy to blame Ponting but I understand but more importantly I tolerate a lot of the things that he says and does simply because I know how much pressure he is under. Give him a break people. Can you honestly say that you would not react in the same way if you were in his shoes?

Posted by Nipun on (July 19, 2009, 2:45 GMT)

Ponting's desperation simply reflects how desperate he is to win.That's a champion's attitude.About the time-wasting issue,yes,he has overreacted a bit.But had any other captain been in Ponting's place,they would have done the same thing,just in a more mild manner.Ponting is a champion & will remain a champion.For people saying that Ponting has a poor record in Lord's or a poor record in India & bla bla bla,here's something:-How has Sachin Tendulkar,or for that matter,Virender Sehwag,Sourav Ganguly,VVS Laxman,& Rahul Dravid fared IN South Africa ?

Posted by ak973 on (July 19, 2009, 2:32 GMT)

I agree with Racyrao below. Its inevitable that an Aussie or an England cricketer will get away with dissent but never an Indian. We just watched in the first test shoulder charge between Broad and Siddle but was anyone punished ? No. If it were Sreesanth or Gambhir they might hv to sit out for a match. Lets see what happens to Ponting. This is not the first time he has shown his dissent. but never been penalised for it. No doubt the Aussies or Englishmen dont hv any charges to show. I think if Gavaskar was the referee he would hv called spade a spade.

Posted by RGVXT on (July 19, 2009, 2:25 GMT)

you must be kidding RacyRao. The indian captain's behaviour after losing in the Sydney test in australia is perhaps the absolute worst ever display of appalling lack of sportsmanship ever shown in any sport at any time. Shame Shame Shame. We all hate Ponting's manner and his poor captaincy but rejoice in his batting, unfortunately not at Lords

Posted by RaghuramanR on (July 19, 2009, 1:45 GMT)

I disagree with Ian's pitch for declaration and delighted with Strauss's decision to carry on. Apart from England's batting, spilled catch can really rub it in to Ponting and that is very important for England to have the psychological edge against Australia. It will be better off with Australian captain thinking about his batting, fielding rather than execution of 'gameplan's.

Posted by mk49_van on (July 19, 2009, 1:25 GMT)

Peter missed a crucial point in his analysis of Ponting. Fans don't like Ponting because he is a nasty piece of work - he is both a bully and a hypocrite. The Indian series in Aus in 2008 put an end to the lie of the "hard but fair" approach the Aussies claimed to espouse. Ponting spearheaded what was plain to those of us who saw the replays of catches that were claimed but had patently touched the ground. It was also a systematic betrayal of a gentleman's agreement with the opposing captain. Fans of all ilk (even many Aussies) dislike Ponting. It is not hard to guess why.

Posted by Slysta on (July 19, 2009, 0:53 GMT)

Ponting had every right to be disgusted with his first-innings dismissal: sure, he could have been LBW. But under the new rules, once the catch was referred, it was the third umpire's RESPONSIBILITY to inform Rudi Koertzen that Ponting didn't hit it. It need hardly be said that he failed to do so. Now, I don't mind the on-field umpires making subjective calls in real time on the field. But for how long do we need to put up with incompetence in the third umpire's chair? That official (no matter who he is) has NO excuses!

Posted by Racyrao on (July 19, 2009, 0:48 GMT)

It just goes to show that Ricky Ponting is just an average captain who had excellent players like Glenn and Shane under his belt. What surprises me still is his unwanted arrogance and the audacity to complain and argue with the umpires on the field. This is an extremely unpleasant sight and i have seldom seen Captains of other teams doing it. Unfortunately his successor, Michael Clark is no different. I am a bit surprised as to why no action is taken against such conduct. I am sure an Indian would have been suspended or banned for a few matches atleast. (I am not an Indian supporter, but to be honest they always seem to get the stick)

By the time he retires he may be just short of Tendulkar in terms of number of runs in both Tests and ODI's but will be long way away from the respect and admiration the former enjoys in the cricketing fraternity.

Ponting is a great batsman but a run of the mill school boy sportsman.

Posted by gtan on (July 18, 2009, 23:24 GMT)

Yes the spirit of game and the enigmatic Ricky Ponting. Somehow do not go hand in hand any more. It is always easier to blame the others.....

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