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World Cup 2011

Team-mates back Ponting on captaincy

Brydon Coverdale in Ahmedabad

March 22, 2011

Comments: 98 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting bats against Zimbabwe during Australia's opening World Cup match, Ahmedabad, February 21, 2011
Ricky Ponting will look to quell criticism directed against him by coming good with the bat in the World Cup quarter-final © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting's team-mates have leapt to his defence amid reports he could be stripped of the captaincy ahead of next month's one-day series in Bangladesh. The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday claimed that Cricket Australia would discuss Ponting's future as leader of the side, even if the selectors named him captain for the Bangladesh series.

The paper quoted an unnamed Cricket Australia official as saying that the time was approaching to look to the future, and that "we're waiting for the next thing to blow up". Over the past month, Ponting has created headlines for damaging a TV set in the dressing room, showing his anger at Steven Smith when they collided while going for a catch and for not walking when he got a thick edge to the wicketkeeper against Pakistan.

Perhaps more importantly, Ponting has also been struggling for runs and Australia need him to fire during their quarter-final against India in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Michael Hussey said the team was right behind the captain, and that Ponting had not been any different in his approach over the past few weeks.

"Ricky's got our 100% support," Hussey said. "He's such a class player. It's amazing, it seems like he's been copping criticism over very minor things. Things have been blown way out of proportion from our point of view.

"I've been watching Ricky in the nets and the way he has been preparing. It's just amazing sometimes how champions just rise to the occasion at the right time. Against India on Thursday in the World Cup is one of those times where I think we'll see the best of Ricky Ponting."

Ponting is searching for his fourth World Cup title and although he has signalled his intentions to play on in the limited-overs format, at 36 his long-term future in the one-day game must be in doubt. Mitchell Johnson said Ponting had retained his focus ahead of the India clash, in which a loss would mean the end of Australia's 12-year hold on the World Cup.

"He's a very important player in this tournament. He's been in a few World Cups now, so to have his experience is vital for us and he's a guy we all look up to," Johnson said. "He's copped a fair bit [of criticism] lately and he's dealing with it in his own way.

"He has got the experience needed to be able to deal with it. I don't think he's thinking about it too much, he's just worried about this next game. The guys are there to support him, everyone needs support at times and he is getting it from everyone. He is a tough character but he enjoys that support."

Ponting hasn't made an international hundred in 13 months, and his best score at this World Cup has been 36 - against Kenya in Bangalore last week. He has given no signal that he intends to retire in the near future, and last week said that he would be playing in the Bangladesh series, which begins on April 9.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 98 
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Posted by sidhant on (March 25, 2011, 17:22 GMT)

sorry punter but the time has arrived.

Posted by Ned on (March 24, 2011, 4:24 GMT)

Honest criticism is never a bad thing.Painful sometime yes, but not in and of itself not a bad thing. The plain truth is that this is possibly the worst time for Ricky to have experienced a form slump.it may be a sign of his weighing powers or just come at a time when there is no one to carry him as he has carried the team all team all these years.Good teams can carry a passenger for a while till he finds form , just look at mark Taylor , poor Ricky doesn't have that option.throw in his age and Australia not so awesome record , not hard to see why hes under the couch.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

By hanging around, Ricky Ponting is not helping the team, the fans, Australian cricket or himself. It is probably too late for him to do what Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath, Hayden and others did, which is to leave on his own terms. It is far too late for him to improve his legacy as captain.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 22:33 GMT)

Who's behind Hussey 100%? This means if Hussey is out Ponting is out as well. The problem is the aging players in the squad. I think CA didn't do a good preparation prior to the build up of this world cup. They had a long series that caused quite a few injuries and they had to pick players that haven't been part of the team regularly.

Ponting is a big player but a very mediocre captain. I would have played him as a batsman only so that he can share invaluable experience. As a captain, not only he stresses out but has created this gap between him and the team mates who approaches him.

Nevertheless, Australian team is still a good one and will give a good fight.

Posted by Mohammad on (March 23, 2011, 21:14 GMT)

OK, this may sound rude, but hussey and johnson.... do these players themselves have an idea if they will play after this world cup is over

|Think you guys before you opt to vote for someone if your own position in the team is secure !

Posted by Senthil on (March 23, 2011, 18:05 GMT)

For all of Australia's invincibility in the WCs, the last WC was four years ago. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. India have beaten Australia in Australia, in a three match series that did not even go to the third match. India have had no reason to talk themselves up. They're keeping their mouths shut and going about their business. It is not fun to watch a champion team having to assert themselves by talking, and offering these remarks of support to their captain etc. If both teams play to their full potential, I'm afraid Australia are going to lose.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 16:25 GMT)

ALEX ... ... ... i agree with you 100%

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 15:32 GMT)

Hey what ever happened to Australian's boasting they have a super strong back bone. They've spend an eternity pointing out weaknesses of other cultures and players and now they are turning tail and hiding behind their faults by covering up with slogans like "we'll back ponting 100% and "we;ll take a bullet for Ponting" . Its utterly laughable.No wonder they aren't many people's favourites. If they actually admitted to failure they would be a better team for it.

Posted by Alex on (March 23, 2011, 10:56 GMT)

He should be dropped as captain and go down the order a bit, Clarke would do good as captain you just have to look at how we played in the ODI series vs England and the on field decisions he made etc

Ponting was never a good captain we just had a team full of great players.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

Ponting was never a good captain and Australia's last two World Cup wins were due the brilliance of the team and Ponting's form as a batsman rather than due to his captaincy.Now Australia will get knocked out and Ponting will be wise to step down from the captaincy.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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