The Investec Ashes 2013

Ponting attacks CA's BBL hype

Daniel Brettig

July 23, 2013

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Michael Clarke made steady progress, England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day, July 13, 2013
Ricky Ponting believes the best player should be batting at No. 3 or 4 © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by righthandbat 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.

Posted by Clyde 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by siddhartha87 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by stormy16 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.

Posted by   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..

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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