Nielsen backs Ponting's captaincy
The coach Tim Nielsen believes Ricky Ponting remains the best man to captain Australia. Ponting's tactics during the India series, which led to Australia dropping to fifth in the rankings, have put his leadership under scrutiny ahead of the Ashes.
"There is nobody better in Australian cricket or world cricket to lead this side," Nielsen said in the lead-up to Sunday's opening ODI in Kochi. "While we haven't had some of the results we would have liked, there's no doubt in my mind, or anybody's mind inside the group, that Ricky is the right man to lead the team."
Australia suffered a desperately close loss in Mohali but were beaten by Sachin Tendulkar's heroics in Bangalore on the way to a 2-0 defeat. Geoff Lawson said this week Ponting should play as a specialist batsman and Shane Warne questioned his tactics.
"As the captain of this team and the leader of our group, [Ponting] does a great job in keeping a consistent outlook on things," Nielsen said in the Daily Telegraph. "It is certainly not a time to be panicking. I can't think of a better person to be leading a group through a few ups and downs."
The form of Nathan Hauritz was also worrying but Nielsen said there were other reasons for the series defeat. "Don't lay all the blame or all the ideas on Nathan Hauritz," Nielsen said. "We didn't bowl or bat as well as we could have for the whole series."