John Buchanan, the former Australia coach, has said Ricky Ponting has been let down by people in leadership roles in Australian cricket, leaving him overburdened. Ponting's role as captain is to lead the team by example, he said, not preoccupy himself with off-field matters.
"We saw that last night," Buchanan told AAP, referring to Ponting's quarter-final ton against India. "He was able to direct his energies towards one game. All thinking about developing the side and building a culture, selections here and selections there, were irrelevant. That is what he is capable of doing when his attention is rightly directed.
"Ricky still has an incredible amount to offer Australian cricket, but he has to be in the right frame of mind to do that," Buchanan said. "For the last 18 months or so that hasn't been the case because he has, in a sense, tried to take on too much responsibility for the whole team."
Ponting was at the receiving end of much criticism in the lead-up to the game against India, one of the reasons being his lack of form. He led Australia to two straight World Cup wins but was also captain during his team's Ashes defeats in 2005, 2009 and early this year in Australia. Amid calls for his resignation as captain after the World Cup and, in some quarters, retirement, Ponting struck form with a determined century in the quarter-final, but it proved inadequate as Australia were knocked out of the competition. Buchanan said Ponting's time at the helm was made difficult by some people around him.
"I'm disappointed with people around him, who have allowed him to do that [be overburdened]. That has contributed to making life very difficult for him in the [leadership] role." Buchanan refrained from naming the people he believed to be behind Ponting's problems, but said it is 'people in other formal leadership roles in and around the team'.
"I think there is a range of other people who relied on him to do more of the other work - building a team, building a culture, looking at selection - which are things that he has felt very personally involved with. But those things have been much bigger than he anticipated I think and he should not have been allowed to burden himself with it."