Greg Ritchie, the former Australian batsman, has criticised the tactics of Australian coach John Buchanan, and captain Ricky Ponting and has predicted another Ashes victory for England later this year if the two continue to be in charge. Addressing a gathering at a dinner in Adelaide, Ritchie pushed for Shane Warne to be elevated to the captaincy.
"Australia would win the Ashes if Shane Warne was captain," Ritchie was quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald. "On the field, he [Ponting] doesn't know what's going on. England's bowlers have our measure."
Australia lost last year's Ashes in England after a gap of nearly 20 years, losing the series 1-2. After an emphatic victory in the first Test at Lord's, Australia's form slipped, and Ritchie was critical of Ponting's decision to bowl first in the second Test at Edgbaston, after which England posted 407 in a single day. Glenn McGrath, Australia's strike fast bowler, pulled out after suffering a freak injury shortly before the start, trodding over a stray cricket ball while playing touch-rugby. England squared the series by the narrow margin of two runs.
"What were they doing playing rugby league before the match?" he said. "What Buchanan knows about coaching you could write on the back of a dinner plate."
Ritchie also blamed Ponting for Australia's shock defeat in a one-day international against South Africa in Johannesburg earlier this year, failing to defend a world-record score of 434. "It was an effort that you wouldn't expect from the Sturt under-14 captain," he said.
The latest dig at Buchanan is the second in the last few weeks, after Warne was quoted as saying that he didn't deserve too much credit for Australia's success as a team. Warne later backtracked on his comments, saying that his quotes were taken out of context.