Shane Warne says Ricky Ponting always puts the team first © Getty Images
Shane Warne believes Ricky Ponting could learn something from Allan Border and Ian Chappell, two of the former captains who criticised Ponting over his tactics in the fourth Test in Nagpur. But Warne said although Ponting made some bad decisions it was important he was not hung out to dry.
"His tactics surprised me - and everyone else - because he is naturally an attacker," Warne wrote in his column in the Herald Sun. "The reason he is under pressure is that it looked like he put himself in front of the team, and that just isn't Punter. Having played with him for a long time, he was one of the guys that put the team first - always.
"If it meant throwing his wicket away in the chase for quick runs, he would do that. And there have been previous captains who would not do that. I just think he got it wrong this time and I'm sure he will be a better captain for the experience."
Ponting's decision to use part-time slow bowlers instead of his main strikers after tea on the fourth day against India drew severe criticism from a wide range of cricketing names. Ponting was particularly disappointed with the harsh words from Border and Chappell but Warne said the two men could have something to offer.
"Hopefully Ricky understands where everyone's criticism is coming from, takes it on board and does not wipe people," Warne said. "I'm sure if he thinks it through, he could do worse than ask Ian Chappell or Allan Border out for dinner and chat about it. He might just pick up something.
"Ian Chappell was the biggest influence on my cricketing career and I learnt a lot about captaincy, tactics and the game off him. Border taught me what it meant to play for Australia and showed me what toughness was. He was brilliant and he never gave up."
Warne said it was not so much the fact that Australia lost the series 2-0 but the way the team was defeated that was a concern for some of the ex-players. He said the squad appeared to lack spark, although he felt the players would lift immediately for next week's first Test against New Zealand.
Ponting also found support from his former team-mate Justin Langer, who described Ponting as one of the "most selfless people and captains I have ever played with". Langer said the poor over rate was an issue the entire squad needed to address and it was unfortunate that Ponting was being landed with the blame.
"Anyone who suggests Ricky Ponting had any ulterior motives has absolute rocks in their head and I include in that former legends of the game who have said it because they are not reading the situation properly," Langer told the Australian. "To point the finger at the captain, who already has a dozen other things going on, is unfair and it's insanity."
Adam Gilchrist, who led Australia to their series win in India in 2004-05, declined to pass judgment on Ponting's tactics but he said there were several others in the touring party who would have contributed to the decision. "There's a coach [Tim Nielsen] and a vice-captain [Michael Clarke], Matty Hayden is an integral part of that team, and they would have all sat and discussed it," Gilchrist said on ABC radio. "Ultimately it all comes down to Ricky."