Australia v Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Bank Series, Sydney February 16, 2012

Ponting admits to captaincy concerns

46

Ricky Ponting needed to have his concerns assuaged by the national selector John Inverarity before he accepted the stand-in captaincy for Friday's triangular series match against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

Aware that Michael Clarke had strained a hamstring at the conclusion of Sunday's loss to India, Ponting took the vice-captain David Warner aside in the Adelaide Oval dressing room to say "make sure you've got yourself ready to captain Australia in a couple of days' time". However Ponting then took the call of Inverarity, who explained that Warner was not yet ready for the position, compelling the selectors to go back to the former captain at the SCG.

"I did have a think about it and I had a good chat to John Inverarity about that and what some of my concerns were around that," Ponting said on match eve. "But I decided to do what they wanted me to do and what I felt was probably right for the team right at the moment.

"We've got a few of our experienced guys out on the sidelines at the moment, and I know Dave Warner had been named vice-captain at the start of the one-day series and the selectors made it very clear why they haven't given him the captaincy for this game. I'm excited about leading the team again but hopefully it's only for a very short period of time.

"[My concerns] were all the things that have already been spoken about in the media in the past couple of days. The fact there was a vice-captain named and it looked like I was coming over the top of him and maybe not giving a younger guy an opportunity to captain Australia. They were the things I spoke to John about, but the fact they'd actually asked me, they'd put a lot of time and thought and energy into making me come back into this role, so I agreed to do it and felt and still feel right now that it's probably the best decision for the team."

Ponting said he would now be spending plenty of time with Warner over the next two days or more - depending on whether or not Clarke returns from his hamstring strain in time for Sunday's match against India at the Gabba - to impart as much wisdom as he could about captaincy and leadership. Their dialogue had begun when Warner called Ponting upon hearing he had been appointed captain, offering a cheeky rejoinder to the earlier dressing room conversation.

"As soon as the game finished in Adelaide I actually dragged [Warner] over and made him sit with me for a few minutes and I said to him then 'make sure you've got yourself ready to captain Australia in a couple of days' time'," Ponting said. "Then as soon as the decision was made he was on the phone to me straight away saying 'don't worry about me, you better make sure you're ready to captain the team', so we've had a bit of a chat about it. Davey's very clear on the direction the selectors have taken, and I'm just going to do the best I can to make sure he gets the most out of the game that he possibly can.

"As I've always done when I was captain is ask the opinions of the players out on the field at different times in the game and for Friday's game it'll be Davey that I'll be going to a lot to one let him know what my ideas are and what we're trying to achieve and also try to get some ideas out of him as to where he sees the game at any particular time. I think he came out yesterday and said he enjoys working under Michael and George Bailey in the T20s and for him tomorrow he's got a chance to work with me and I'm looking forward to that."

Chief among Ponting's priorities for the match against Sri Lanka is to help refocus a team that struggled for energy and precision in the field in Adelaide - perhaps a hangover from the Perth commute, having played a match on the west coast on Friday night.

"That's the hardest one you have during the summer, there's no doubt about that," Ponting said. "When you're travelling from Sydney to Brisbane like we are this week then it's not as big a deal. Coming from Perth, we left at one o'clock and arrived in Adelaide about half past six. Then you're having dinner and up and playing the next day. Probably for the fast bowlers in particular that was the hardest thing that they'll have to do for the summer.

"We're not using that as an excuse. We knew about that at the start of the summer and we have to gear our training and our preparation around a trip like that. That game's behind us now. We've got to look forward to this week and make sure we're lifting our standards again."

It should not be forgotten either that Ponting's own start to the series has been particularly quiet, returning scores of 2, 1 and 6. So amid all the assorted concerns of captaincy, Ponting said he was making sure he paid adequate attention to his own batting, having scaled considerable heights during the Test series against India.

"I've been doing pretty much the same stuff this series as I was doing towards the end of the Test series," Ponting said. "To miss out in the first couple of games, you have a reasonable break between games. We're playing Friday-Sunday right through this tournament so it's a little bit hard to get some momentum going when you've got that big break between games.

"Today becomes an important day for me as far as my preparation is concerns to get everything out of it I can. It's important for the team as well. We started this series really well and our last two performances probably haven't been at the level that we'd expect of ourselves so we have to make sure that by the end of training today we've got ourselves back to a level that's going to be good enough to dominate the remaining games."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 17, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    why he agreed to be a vice captain if he is the default captain in the absence of the captain. was that respect shown to the ponting? or he doubts he won capability? if he has doubts on him, then its not wise to have such vice captain

  • Aussasinator on February 17, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    Australia will lose the match. Then warner will be made captain.

  • on February 17, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Why make someone vice captain if you don't want them to be vice captain?

    Australia are comfortably in front in this series ... this is the perfect opportunity to assess Warner's captaincy skills.

  • vswami on February 17, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    Dont understand what the fuss is all about .. its just two games.

  • Chetan007 on February 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    I don't understand why Ponting, why not Hussey or Lee. Even if Warner was made captain there was nothing wrong if he gets a chance to know his own mistakes so early in his career to rectify those in the future. If his does those mistake he will surely try to learn those for the future and a best captain will be produce. Doing mistakes and learning from those is the life

  • on February 17, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    dave warner shd have been made captain....... if one match only....whats wong with testing him mentally!!!!!

  • wix99 on February 17, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    I suppose the selectors were left with few experienced players to lead the side with Shane Watson injured and Brad Haddin on the outer. It shows that the selectors really need some good succession planning. David Warner is a potential future captain, but he still needs to become more consistent as a batsman. I suggest the selectors should give George Bailey a chance to play in the ODI and Test sides. Obviously he is already recognised as a leader by the selectors given that he is the T20 captain.

  • Micgyver on February 17, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    Ponting is too modest on himself.It is quite obvious that Warner isnt ready to lead his country in ODI's.He is still fairly green as a player and definitely as a leader so common sense has prevailed. Although i have to agree with @xylo,its puzzling why a man of Husseys cricketing brain and stature has never been considered.

  • SnowSnake on February 17, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Seems to me that Australian selection board has Warner on short leash. Not giving him responsibility might just mean that they are already looking for alternatives for Warner.

  • Nirjal_056 on February 16, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    common ricky u r the most successful captain in the world so once time prove ur self............ have a good luck............

  • on February 17, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    why he agreed to be a vice captain if he is the default captain in the absence of the captain. was that respect shown to the ponting? or he doubts he won capability? if he has doubts on him, then its not wise to have such vice captain

  • Aussasinator on February 17, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    Australia will lose the match. Then warner will be made captain.

  • on February 17, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Why make someone vice captain if you don't want them to be vice captain?

    Australia are comfortably in front in this series ... this is the perfect opportunity to assess Warner's captaincy skills.

  • vswami on February 17, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    Dont understand what the fuss is all about .. its just two games.

  • Chetan007 on February 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    I don't understand why Ponting, why not Hussey or Lee. Even if Warner was made captain there was nothing wrong if he gets a chance to know his own mistakes so early in his career to rectify those in the future. If his does those mistake he will surely try to learn those for the future and a best captain will be produce. Doing mistakes and learning from those is the life

  • on February 17, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    dave warner shd have been made captain....... if one match only....whats wong with testing him mentally!!!!!

  • wix99 on February 17, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    I suppose the selectors were left with few experienced players to lead the side with Shane Watson injured and Brad Haddin on the outer. It shows that the selectors really need some good succession planning. David Warner is a potential future captain, but he still needs to become more consistent as a batsman. I suggest the selectors should give George Bailey a chance to play in the ODI and Test sides. Obviously he is already recognised as a leader by the selectors given that he is the T20 captain.

  • Micgyver on February 17, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    Ponting is too modest on himself.It is quite obvious that Warner isnt ready to lead his country in ODI's.He is still fairly green as a player and definitely as a leader so common sense has prevailed. Although i have to agree with @xylo,its puzzling why a man of Husseys cricketing brain and stature has never been considered.

  • SnowSnake on February 17, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Seems to me that Australian selection board has Warner on short leash. Not giving him responsibility might just mean that they are already looking for alternatives for Warner.

  • Nirjal_056 on February 16, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    common ricky u r the most successful captain in the world so once time prove ur self............ have a good luck............

  • montys_muse on February 16, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Well, I guess the selectors gave the top most priority to winning the match which has to be everybody's top priority....AND MOREOVER ITS JUST FOR ONE GAME WHEN THE SERIES IS STILL PRETTY MUCH ALIVE. As far as testing out Warner's captaincy, he has a huge future and will get more chances to captain. So let him grow in some confidence and gain some more experience before being made the captain.

  • Mitcher on February 16, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    Pretty flawed argument from those saying Warner should be capatain automatically since he is vice. With Watson, and less and less haddin, still lurking. He is essentially a third choice VC. He is there to do an apprenticeship of sorts. The guy isn't even established fully in the side so lumping him with the captaincy would be unfair on him. In this one off case, all good to have the experienced man step in.

  • itsTIME4ELImination on February 16, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    @Eli. What do you think of Clarke telling Ponting? Don't muddle up things.

  • xylo on February 16, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    It has always puzzled me why Mike Hussey was never considered as captaincy material. I thought he had the goods in him. Agreed that age was not on his side, but if Warner was made captain, and Hussey his one-match deputy, it should definitely ease the concerns of all stakeholders. As such, throwing a challenge at Warner might be good in the long run as well. Remember how Graeme Smith was asked to lead the team and he thrived?

  • Divinetouch on February 16, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Ian Chappell, you spoke about the problem in Indian cricket re 'star culture' what is the culture problem with Australian cricket that they reverted to Ponting rather than appointing the vice captain - David Warner to take over the reins in Clarke's absence.

    You enjoy bashing India and Sachin Tendulkar let us hear your voice now.

  • firey1 on February 16, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Warner isn't a very good cricket player and he's lucky to be in the team at all. Giving Ponting the captaincy was a great decision. Those that think otherwise know very little about cricket.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    warner is not settled as odi player.It's a good move by Cricket Australia.Let Warner learn first from only 3 time WC winner ponting

  • CSK_chennai on February 16, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    Hope to see Ponting's 100 and SL's first win of the series.

  • on February 16, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    Shame on them. If Warner was not ready to be a stand in Captain then he should never have been given the vice captain role. Now you knock him down in stature with this stunt. These athletes often have delicate egos and confidence. Another poorly handles situation from the board.

  • getgopi on February 16, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    This is the kind of thing I would expect from the BCCI. Warner should have been given a taste of the captaincy. It's just for a single game anyway.

  • on February 16, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    In a culture of hero-worship of senior players and legends would it have been considered somewhat odd having the great Ponting playing under Warner who hasn't even cemented his place in the one-day team and is little more than a glorified T20 player? Imagine Warner wanting to tell Ponting where to field.

  • LarryD on February 16, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    "I did have a think about it and I had a good chat to John Inverarity about that and what some of my concerns were around that," Ponting said ... What horrid English from the Aussie "captain"! Ricky could use a few grammar lessons before taking back the reins, even if it's just for a short while.

  • on February 16, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Absolutely nonesense!!! Ponting is NOT a one day player again. He should not even be in the ODI team - just check his last 10 games or so??? Him batting at number 3 in the one days is a easy wicket for the opposition. I don't know why he is captain either. The ODI team have a vice-captain, and he should be given the captaincy when the regular captain is not available. So, is Warner still the V.Captain ??? OR is some-one else the vice captain ?? What nonesense !!! Backward step for Australian Cricket. If India can "rest" the best batsman in the world in this ODI series, then Australia should rest Ponting, and he should take it upon himself to step down for a couple of games, if he is a team player.

  • Nisarg.Vadiya on February 16, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Australian Captaincy has always been spot on. Their planning also. Boreder ---> Taylor ---> Waugh ---> Ponting ---> Clarke. The future captain is Steven Smith. Fail to understand why he can't even make into the team and people labeling David Warner as next Australian Captain.

  • on February 16, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    yes ricky ponting is a good choice to be considered captain.He has the experience of captaining a team like australia!!!!!giving warner a chance at the moment do nt fell safe !!!!!!!!!because hes young!!giving captaincy to him would get australia more into danger

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    I think Punter should grasp this opportunity and retire from cricket while the opportunity is right. It will not be good if a player of his stature has to be dumped by the selectors. He should not do the same mistake that Sachin, Dravid and Laxman are doing.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on February 16, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    To all those who are calling for Warner to captain, look what happened when Mike Hussey was given the captaincy for the away series in NZ - he lost all his games (against a poorly rated side) and never wants to be captain again! It clearly showed Hussey is not up to the task of captaincy. To give Warner captaincy against the current World Champions would be a bold, risky and yet brave move - but I can't think of kinder conditions in which to test out Warner's mettle - with Ponting, Hussey and Lee on the field, Warner would have access to advice spanning several hundred ODIs; it's a group match and not a finals appearance; Warner would have the support of home crowds (as opposed to Clarke's injury happening on tour, say); Ponting would be allowed to keep a focus on rediscovering his world-beating batting form. Whatever happens in this game, it will always be looked on as a chance squandered by the NSP. Bold & brave, backing their own judgment? Not THIS National Selection Panel.

  • on February 16, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Warner will learn a lot from Punter. Ricky was always a hero for more, yet my respect has doubled since he left the captaincy, hes always ready to help the younger guys and is consistently putting team first. A true legend and born leader, determination man Ricky, bat on!

  • maddy20 on February 16, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    I cannot help but wonder why the OZ fans are upset. As much as it might sound like a backward step, Ponting is probably one of the best OZ captains to learn from. I am sure he will actively interact with warner during the game and help him learn the ropes. After that the selectors will probably decide on whether to let Warner take charge. But for that Warner will have to find some kind of form with the bat to regain his confidence. A captain who is short of confidence and experience will spe doom for the team.

  • firey1 on February 16, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    What I don't understand is why Warner is Vice Captain anyway. Hopefully it's only till Watson is back.

  • on February 16, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Ricky - Why do you still want to lead Australia? You know your days are gone...

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 16, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    This will end SL hopes in this CB series. Go ausis go, pack them.

  • dunger.bob on February 16, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    I'm glad they gave it to Ponting. Dave Warner captain the side !! .. Seriously, you are kidding aren't you. .. the man barely knows his you know what from his elbow. ... I predict he will be out of all Australian sides in 18 months- 2 years. .. There you go, you heard it first here.

  • ajayrcs on February 16, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Ponting said it all it doesn't matter who is captain it will be opportunity for Warner to learn somthing from Ponting.

  • Busie1979 on February 16, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    I agree with Ponting and Steve Waugh. This is a wasted opportunity to groom Warner for a future captaincy. Give Warner a game as captain to get a feel for it, and he can put that away in the memory bank, reflect on it, and be better prepared in 3-4 years time when Clarke hands it over. If Australia lose, that's fine. Sri Lanka are almost dead on their feet already and I can't imagine Australia missing the final from this position.

  • PrasPunter on February 16, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Punter, you have always been an ace in my book !! such a selfless man, who always puts team before self. Go Punter !! Go Aussies !! It will be poetic justice if Punter captains the team for the entire series and Aus wins, in return for what we lost in '08. Go Aussie Go !!

  • eden.2001.fakr.hai on February 16, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    This article tells so much bout Ponting as the cricketer who is getting ready to retire but making sure his team gains as much from him as it can in every which way possible. Impressive as it always was, Australian tradition of grooming their future captains is still unmatched anywhere.

  • Gishan_Buddhika on February 16, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    I think the captaincy should have given to Warner.If you are not sure with your vice captain for a single match(probably),why you appoint him as the v.c.? More recently Cricket Australia took some decisions those seems to be pointless.

  • Ms.Cricket on February 16, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Dave Warner is better off not getting advice from Ponting who did a crap job since 2008. Luckily Michael Clarke is his own man. If Warner is vice-captain he should have been given the job - nothing like been thrown into the deep end to learn. Lots of young players did an excellent job when faced with a situation like this ih the past - e.g. Greame Smith, Michael Vaughan, Nawab Pataudi, even Sunil Gavaskar in NZ in the 1970s.

  • jmcilhinney on February 16, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    The selectors have said that they see Warner as future captain material but it's fair enough that they don't want him to captain under these circumstances. He's only vice-captain because Watson and Haddin aren't there. Do you really want your third-choice vice captain leading the team? If he had to do it for an over or two while Clarke was off the field to answer the call of nature or something like that then fine, but not for a whole game. Ponting was the obvious choice and I can't really see why there was any debate, other than to make sure he was happy to do it.

  • on February 16, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    This would have been the perfect opportunity to give Warner a run as captain, with Ponting there to supervise him. If he is not ready to captain the team then why is he vice-captain? Our selectors and team management continue to baffle Australian fans.

  • on February 16, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I like the move the way Ponting describes it. Warner gets a game where Ponting can give him on the job live experience which is priceless. In 10 years time when Warner may be captaining this little move here may be paying dividends.

  • lebigfella on February 16, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    I sincerely hope this short term fix works for Australia & RTP. Shame Warner wasn't up for it (why put him as Vice in the first place?) with Ricky as his Vice. Not entirely convinced this looks good for Team Oz... wish them all well nonetheless.

  • farkin on February 16, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    the continuous joke of Australian cricket selection

  • cricmatters on February 16, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    It is a backward step for Australian Cricket. Let the guy learn the ropes when the stakes are low. I would say the selectors missed the opportunity to show some faith in the youngsters.

  • on February 16, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    no other player can be captain? going backwards giving to ponting again

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on February 16, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    no other player can be captain? going backwards giving to ponting again

  • cricmatters on February 16, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    It is a backward step for Australian Cricket. Let the guy learn the ropes when the stakes are low. I would say the selectors missed the opportunity to show some faith in the youngsters.

  • farkin on February 16, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    the continuous joke of Australian cricket selection

  • lebigfella on February 16, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    I sincerely hope this short term fix works for Australia & RTP. Shame Warner wasn't up for it (why put him as Vice in the first place?) with Ricky as his Vice. Not entirely convinced this looks good for Team Oz... wish them all well nonetheless.

  • on February 16, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I like the move the way Ponting describes it. Warner gets a game where Ponting can give him on the job live experience which is priceless. In 10 years time when Warner may be captaining this little move here may be paying dividends.

  • on February 16, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    This would have been the perfect opportunity to give Warner a run as captain, with Ponting there to supervise him. If he is not ready to captain the team then why is he vice-captain? Our selectors and team management continue to baffle Australian fans.

  • jmcilhinney on February 16, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    The selectors have said that they see Warner as future captain material but it's fair enough that they don't want him to captain under these circumstances. He's only vice-captain because Watson and Haddin aren't there. Do you really want your third-choice vice captain leading the team? If he had to do it for an over or two while Clarke was off the field to answer the call of nature or something like that then fine, but not for a whole game. Ponting was the obvious choice and I can't really see why there was any debate, other than to make sure he was happy to do it.

  • Ms.Cricket on February 16, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Dave Warner is better off not getting advice from Ponting who did a crap job since 2008. Luckily Michael Clarke is his own man. If Warner is vice-captain he should have been given the job - nothing like been thrown into the deep end to learn. Lots of young players did an excellent job when faced with a situation like this ih the past - e.g. Greame Smith, Michael Vaughan, Nawab Pataudi, even Sunil Gavaskar in NZ in the 1970s.

  • Gishan_Buddhika on February 16, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    I think the captaincy should have given to Warner.If you are not sure with your vice captain for a single match(probably),why you appoint him as the v.c.? More recently Cricket Australia took some decisions those seems to be pointless.

  • eden.2001.fakr.hai on February 16, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    This article tells so much bout Ponting as the cricketer who is getting ready to retire but making sure his team gains as much from him as it can in every which way possible. Impressive as it always was, Australian tradition of grooming their future captains is still unmatched anywhere.