The Investec Ashes 2013 July 23, 2013

Ponting attacks CA's BBL hype


Ricky Ponting has dealt out heavy criticism of Cricket Australia for rolling out reams of Big Bash League hype in the hours after the Test team's 347-run humiliation at Lord's.

A flurry of press releases trumpeting the BBL's success and the signings of players landed in email inboxes around the world as England's players were celebrating their 2-0 series lead, while a slightly sheepish-looking Michael Hussey emerged from a helicopter at Sydney's Olympic Stadium to promote his signing for the Thunder after choosing to retire ahead of the India and Ashes tours.

Ponting, who alongside Adam Gilchrist has signed with Network Ten as a BBL commentator and will be used heavily as a selling point for the competition's move to free-to-air television, was nonetheless "flabbergasted" to see so much CA airspace devoted to Twenty20 at the same moment the Test team's state of severe disrepair was laid bare for all to see.

"I was flabbergasted when Cricket Australia put out a statement on Sunday night promoting the success of the Big Bash Twenty20 league because the timing, coming so soon after that heavy defeat at Lord's, was not ideal," Ponting wrote in the Daily Mail. "Cricket Australia is a business and they have invested a lot of time in the Big Bash while cuts have been made in first-class cricket. I can see what they were trying to do with that statement but we must remember that the strength of this business will be measured by the success of the national team."

Having viewed the Lord's match closely, Ponting also argued that shuffling of the batting order from one Test to another had contributed to the dire first innings 128 that essentially sealed Australia's fate. Ponting called on his successor Michael Clarke to stick to a position, noting that his move from No. 4 at Trent Bridge to No. 5 at Lord's had forced Phillip Hughes to move out of a position at No. 6 he had just gained confidence in by making 81 in the first Test.

"One thing Australia must have is stability, particularly in their batting order," Ponting wrote. "Clarke was back at five having been at four at Trent Bridge, which led to other players like Phil Hughes being moved too, and I believe that your best player should be at three or four, particularly in an inexperienced line-up. There have been nine different players, I think, at three since I stopped batting there and Australia need to make their minds up over who should bat there and in the other positions and stick with them.

"I moved Michael to four a few years ago because I thought it would be for the betterment of him and the team when it became clear he was becoming our best player, but if he feels that it is best to be at five, that's where he needs to bat."

Amid all manner of hand wringing over the Test team's poor results, now stretching to six consecutive Test match defeats, Ponting said it would be unwise to resort to short-term solutions, like the recall of the prolific Simon Katich.

"Let's get one thing clear. Australia cannot flick a switch and suddenly everything will be all right. We are not going to have a big group of young promising players all coming through to make things better," Ponting said. "There are no better players outside this group who could come to the rescue but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of talent in this Australia team. It is just that many of them have to find their feet in the biggest series of them all.

"There has been talk about a call-up for somebody like Simon Katich, who is going very well at Lancashire, but there is no point in looking back. This sort of thing used to come up with Shane Warne when Australia were trying to replace him and it would not solve anything to look at stop-gap measures. The selectors have picked these players as the best we have, and it was only a week ago after Trent Bridge we were saying how close things are."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alastair on July 27, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    I would have Clarke batting at three, no exceptions. With the current crop of players, I think the only XI worth trying is:

    Warner, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Smith, Hughes, Haddin, Agar, Siddle, Harris, Bird.

    As far as I am concerned, the Warner-Watson opening combination is potentially match-winning. If it fails after this Ashes series I would swap the openers for Silk and Cosgrove in the Australian series.

  • James on July 26, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    The lovers of the shorter forms need to understand that people like me find these forms repulsive when they are allowed to intrude on 'representative cricket'. When I saw the depiction of a stroke played by the perfectly admirable Misbah in coloured clothes on Cricinfo the other day I felt slightly nauseous (his may have been one effect Cricinfo had in mind), because it was at a moment when Australia had proven unable to produce enough good orthodox batting. I have complete respect for those who like the shorter forms, but to me a career in cricket is, from school child to adult, a progression in 'representative cricket' to bigger grounds and longer games. Australia have recently not seemed to respect the crucial aspect that is representing one's increasing constituency from school to State to country. The publicity (and especially its timing) about BBL that Ponting, thankfully, has criticised, was grotesque. What kind of a country or set of states is BBL? Please explain in detail.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    National cricket administration in both Australia and New Zealand has sadly been at best confused and at worst a total embarrassment. Who in effected who with this virus containing ineptitude, incompetence, and ineffectiveness? Is it only to be found in offices of southern hemisphere cricket administrators? How contagious is it? Will it reach the northern hemisphere and will it be as virulent? And the burning question, how can it be treated? It has not been a good year for both countries and it has certainly contributed to many low points for fans in both countries, and indeed the players themselves. One only has to look at the rankings for both countries to see the effects of this viral outbreak.

  • siddhartha on July 25, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Ponting is absolutely correct here. Australia must stick to a batting line up. Problems will be there when you are trying to replace all time time greats like ponting,hussey,warne etc .It will take time.That is part of the game. But still they need to learn to bat for longer period of time. Guys like Hughes and Khwaja needs to step up.But somehow they lack the X- factor. Bring back Warner for the 3rd test please. I am not saying that he will come and score tons but definitely he is a huge future prospect.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Stop gap measures are exactly what Australia need! Build for the future? Has everyone forgotten there is an Ashes still up for grabs right now? Try the new players in games 4 and 5. Bring back Katich for the next test, primed for English conditions. Even Ponting has been ripping up County cricket. Plead Warney to play! One game, bring back the players who actually know what it's like to win a game. If that fails, then build for the future. Series is still on the line.

  • Dru on July 25, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    I wonder is the success of the cricket administration is the success of its national team as suggested by Ponting or the bank balance, which I believe is fast becoming the reality and hence the focus on the lucrative T20. Regardless Aus has a problem and surely we cannot all go down the "T20 is to blame" story. India already has done that and at it never really went anywhere. Firstly Eng are a terrific team, and it's being suggested it's one of it's all time great sides while Aus in a rebuilding phase. The issue I reckon and hope is not a talent but a mental issue. Aus have had too many off field fiasco's in recent times including appointing a new coach days before the first test. The Watto role is uncertain and they made some strange selections choices. Strangely all these things only happen when you are down and Aus just needs to ride this out and regroup but the current Ashes are going to be a disaster.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Agree totally with R Ponting comments.. Timing of BBL announcements not a good look at all. It amazes me Ricky Ponting, Australian test cricket legend, is able to make good constructive comments as a new TV commentator, yet in NZ, if past internationals make constructive comments they are fired.. E.g. M Crowe, S Wilson or M Mexted for starters.. On ya Ricky..

  • David on July 24, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    @ couchcoach asked "Why all the ipl bashing?" Of 50 posts I see here, 2 referenced the IPL. & both only in passing. EXAMPLE - Brutalanylist wrote: "Ricky should know after the IPL and Surrey ..." That is NOT IPL bashing.

    There is no IPL bashing here. The discussion is about the effect of the BBL on ALL Aus' cricketers, of whom only a handful play IPL.

    You are confusing 20/20 and the IPL. THE IPL IS NOT 20/20. The IPL is only one of many franchise competitions. If posters bash the 20/20 they are not bashing the IPL. The IPL is not the center of the cricketing universe, or of 20 over cricket. Criticism of the BBL is not criticism of the IPL. The way the BBL is scheduled is very different from the way the IPL is scheduled, & has a negative impact on Aus first class cricket. The IPL does not have the same effect - only 3 or 4 of the Aus test squad regularly play IPL, but almost all play the BBL.

    The bigger question is why do YOU think criticism of 20/20 is criticism of the IPL?

  • Richard on July 24, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    @ couchcoach - To answer your question the IPL is regarded as a quasi-rebel tour outside of the Sub-continent by those of us who have seen World Series cricket and the South African rebel tours come and go. We have seen the corruption and the contrived results, reminiscent of Hansie Cronje, Bob Woolmer, Qasim Omar, Salman Butt and we hold our breath

    Your comment about losing Test players to IPL - that is sub-continent spin, and not reality. Making people feel worried about their future is a political argument, a campaign to drum up support for the IPL. Whether it becomes a problem or benefit for Indian test cricket in particular remains, but it will never be a problem for teams like England or Australia. If Cricket Australia said no more IPL for Australians until retirement or otherwise, it does not mean the death of Test cricket at all. On the contrary, attitudes will come a full circle. Like the Boxing Day Test, The Ashes contested between Australia and England is here to stay.

  • TT on July 24, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    Why all the ipl bashing? IPL is on at a different time to sheffield shield.... And those who say test players aren't allowed to play T20, I say we will lose good potential test players with that scenario! You must remember these guys are professionals and cricket is their career, so why shouldnt they make more money by playing IPL?... which one of us would knock back a pay rise in our profession if it was offered to us? ....who would not want to make 1-5 yrs of salary in 6 weeks?.. there is room for good players to play tests and t20... look at Michael Hussey who has successfully done both.