Ponting's done well to keep the team afloat - Chappell
Click here to listen to Ian Chappell's audio review of The Ashes
Ian Chappell, the former Australia captain, has backed captain Ricky Ponting to stay on as the leader despite being the only second Australian captain to lose two Ashes. Chappell said that he was impressed with his leadership of a team that is still rebuilding after the retirement of several seniors in quick succession.
Ponting has already conceded two Ashes series to England this decade, the latest defeat coming after a 5-0 drubbing of England at home in 2006-07. But Chappell cautioned that Ponting's performance as captain will be scrutinised when the team returns home.
"Obviously with Australia losing the series and Ponting losing the Ashes in England for the second time, there will be some queries about his captaincy, there will be some sniping about his captaincy," Chappell said while reviewing the series for Cricinfo. "Overall I thought he did a pretty fair job as a captain. And when you consider the turnover of very good players that he has had under his captaincy - no other Australian captain has had to cope with that. And I think he has done remarkably well to keep Australia afloat in a situation where they are still a team in transition."
Chappell agreed with Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland that Australia would not benefit from a kneejerk captaincy change. Chappell felt that sacking Ponting at this stage could have a negative impact on the team.
"Now is not the right time to sack Ponting as captain," Chappell said. "For starters if you sack him you will probably lose your best batsman because I don't think he would want to continue if he was sacked as captain.But the most important thing is I don't believe that he deserves to be sacked as captain, he's still the best man for the job."
Chappell however added that some of Ponting's captaincy moves in the series will come up for sharp criticism. He pointed to England's jailbreak in the first Test in Cardiff, when the Australian spinners failed to dislodge the last-wicket pair of James Anderson and Monty Panesar in the fourth innings. Ponting was slammed for bowling spinners for the sake of rushing through the overs.
"Australia failing to finish off England at Cardiff when they had them on the mat turned out to be a really big turning point in this series," Chappell said. "There I guess you could perhaps query Ricky Ponting's choice of bowlers at the end. I think he went for quantity of overs rather than quality of overs and that was a mistake."
Speaking at the presentation ceremony at The Oval at the defeat, Ponting said he was prepared to face the music back home, adding that it was all a part and parcel of leading a major Test team.