Ponting and the over-rate fiasco November 11, 2008

'What was in his tea?'

ESPNcricinfo staff
Australia bowled only spinners and part-timers after tea on day four in Nagpur, in an attempt to boost the over-rate, a tactic that just about everyone found inexplicable

'Let's hurry it up here' © AFP

"In his most embarrassing moment in his 48th Test as Test captain in five years in charge, Ponting opted to worry more about improving Australia's sluggish over rate than going for broke to try and snare a must-win match when a result was clearly on the line."
The Daily Telegraph's Jon Pierik doesn't put too fine a point on it

"The first question you've got to ask is: how the hell can he keep making the same mistake? He has been in that position previously in this series; he has been fined and he has been warned about the slow overs but here we are again… He's the guy who takes up a lot of time talking to his bowlers, talking to his fielders about tactics, changing his field placings - and all of that just takes too long."
Ian Chappell is just about beside himself

"Myself as captain of the Australian cricket team, I feel I have a lot of responsibility to play the game in the right spirit, I have an obligation to try to bowl 90 overs in the day's play… The thing I'm most disappointed about is there seems to be this inference out there that I've put myself totally ahead of the team."
Ponting defends himself

"I might be concerned, I might not be. It depends on getting a clear understanding of the circumstances that ensured that we played the way we did after the tea break… I'd like to understand the situation."
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland struggles to hide his bemusement

"I don't know what to make of all this. They go into the tea break on a high and come out worrying about over-rates... I am glad Ricky can't read my mind right now because he is not going to like it."
Another former captain, Allan Border, has a earful for Ponting but can't quite deliver it on air

"Whatever Ponting had in his tea, it did not help his judgment afterwards."
Archie Henderson in the Times finds a possible explanation

"I remember when I played it was considered a badge of honour not to have a drink in a session [apart from the scheduled drinks break]. And no one died from dehydration. These days there are far too many drinks breaks. It's ridiculous. But it is just not the captain's fault. It is up to coaches, referees and umpires to keep the show moving."
Steve Waugh joins the chorus of not-in-my-day critics

"It's easy to sit up in the commentary box and poke fire at the captain because of the decisions he's making out there."
Tim Nielsen rises to Ponting's defence

"One could never imagine Ian Chappell making such a decision in his day but if he had, I wonder whether the likes of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson would have taken it with the same apparent grace that Watson and Lee did today."
Glenn Mitchell of the ABC looks to history and finds Ponting wanting

"I always thought he was an ordinary captain and this proves it. His captaincy calculator isn't that brilliant, is it?"
Jeff Thomson is not in a forgiving mood

"To give themselves a chance, the Australians needed to take four wickets in that hour… Did not the dressing room sense the mood? Do they not know that there is a tide in the affairs of men that must be taken at the flood?"
Peter Roebuck wonders at just how Australia lost the plot

"It's not the captain's fault and this was clearly a decision at the weekend made by four or five people."
Stuart MacGill thinks it was a committee decision

"I can't understand why the fast bowlers wouldn't bowl off a short run."
Mark Waugh believes there were other options that could also have helped the over rate

"We were quite happy to get a few runs on the board in that particular time."
MS Dhoni is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth