We'll need to fight fatigue - Arthur
A day after Australia lost their second ODI in a row - an "unacceptable" performance - Mickey Arthur, their coach, has said that fighting fatigue will be one of the bigger factors in the rest of the triangular series. Arthur said Ricky Ponting, standing in as captain in Michael Clarke's injury-induced absence, was a bit jaded, too, after a long summer. Ponting has followed his double-century in Adelaide with ODI scores of 2, 1, 6 and 2, but Australia haven't even been able to think about resting him because of Clarke's injury.
"It [fatigue] is going to be a factor, there's no doubt about it," Arthur said. "We've pushed the guys incredibly hard in terms of our intensity, and our expectation around them. Some guys are feeling the effects of that, but we know what the schedule is, we have to make sure we manage the boys correctly, and that we've got the guys up and firing come tomorrow."
Australia play the second part of their double-header on Sunday in Brisbane, with a portion of the middle day spent travelling from Sydney to Brisbane. The heat is on Ponting now, and Arthur admitted he faced a challenge. "If I have to be totally honest Ricky is a little bit jaded, like a couple of our Test players that have played all summer," Arthur said, "but that is the treadmill of international cricket, and they have to find a way to make their performances count and have an impact on the team."
Why not, then, ask the vice-captain, David Warner, to lead the side? "We saw some huge potential in Dave, we want to grow him as a leader, he definitely has that potential," Arthur said. "He's not ready yet, and he knows that, and we've communicated that to him.
"We brought Dave into the vice-captaincy position to be part of our leadership group, and to learn from Michael and I when we strategise our position. In terms of taking guys on the field right now, he's not ready for that yet, and he understands that. I reckon he could be a great leader in a few years to come. You talk about succession planning, we need to find a leader, and he's one of those guys on our radar."
Arthur expects Ponting to make the kind of comeback he did in Tests easlier in the summer. "Ricky is a class act, there is no way you can write off a champion like Ricky Ponting," he said. "He faced those same issues around the first couple of Test matches, and he came through the Test series, had a great series against India, and I hope he turns it around tomorrow."
When asked if Ponting should quit, Arthur didn't commit either way. "I'd like to see Ricky Ponting in our team all the time, but as I've said through the summer, every cricketer's currency is performance, that's what gets you into the Australian team," he said. "A character like Ricky Ponting is someone you want around the team all the time because he's so inspirational, he's still our fittest player and hardest trainer, and he trains with the most intensity. He's a fantastic example to every guy who comes into this team."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo