India v Australia, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day November 10, 2008

Sutherland to query Ponting on tactics


Ricky Ponting's regular conferences out on the field have not helped Australia's over rates © AFP
 

Cricket Australia will ask Ricky Ponting to clarify his reasons for using part-time bowlers after tea on the fourth day in Nagpur when Australia had a strong chance to set up a gettable chase. Australia had to win the Test to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and when India went to the break six down with a lead of 252, Ponting's men had a chance to go for the kill.

But Ponting was behind on over rates and decided to employ the occasional medium-pace of Michael Hussey and the part-time spin of Michael Clarke and Cameron White rather than the side's strike fast men. Although the offspinner Jason Krejza was also used the lack of bite at the other end allowed India to build a hefty target of 382.

James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, said he was keen to speak to Ponting to find out why the seemingly defensive options were preferred. "I might be concerned, I might not be," Sutherland said. "It depends on exactly getting a really clear understanding of the circumstances that ensured that we played the way we did after the tea break."

Tim Nielsen, Australia's coach, defended Ponting's decisions and said he did not believe for a minute Australia were not pushing for victory. Sutherland said Ponting and Nielsen would have made "whatever judgment they thought was most appropriate", but he would like to go over the strategies with Ponting, which he said was a semi-regular part of his role.

"I'm always interested in the approach that they take," he said. "It's not something I do every day but at various stages I see that it's part of my responsibility as chief executive to get a feel for that. You've only got to read the newspapers today, there were people who had concerns, had reason to comment on that, and I just want to understand a little bit more of the background."

Ponting will be asked to relate to Sutherland the messages that came from the umpires during the tea break regarding how far Australia were behind in the over rates. Rarely in the four-Test series have either team got through their overs quickly enough and it is a growing trend that Sutherland believes the ICC must address.

"In a broad sense, I have major concerns about over rates in international cricket," he said. "Generally speaking the public deserves more by way of over rates and it's certainly something we'll be taking up with the ICC. If we can play a little bit more cricket and get more overs in or lose less overs at the end of the day then that's probably a good thing for Test cricket."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo