Ponting’s decision


I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Ponting is highly over rated as a captain. Great batsman? Yes. But great captain? No way! His lack of captaincy skills has been masked by the performance of a very very good team with the likes of Warne and McGrath and now that some of these players are gone, the lack of skills in this department are showing up. You can wave all the statistics (48 tests, 33 wins, 6 losses) you’ve got, but it will take more than that to convince me. With the kind of team Australia has had, even my grand mum, who had no knowledge of cricket, could have captained them and won matches – no big deal really.

Anyways, let us leave the discussion of whether he is a good captain or not alone and move to the current issue on why Ponting did not bowl his main bowlers when Australia had India on the ropes on the 4th day of the final test after Tea.

Many former captains, players and writers have said that the decision to persist with part-time bowlers was wrong. But Ponting adamantly refuses to admit that.

“I would do it all again”

Bowling part time bowlers for whatever reason was a wrong decision – make no mistake of that. One could argue that India could have still got off the hook with the best bowlers bowling, but just look at the way the Indians were playing before Tea and how they were bowled out soon after Watson was brought back into the attack and you have my answer to that argument.

Ponting did make a mistake and although a lot of his mates have come out in support of him, they have remained quiet on whether it was the right decision or not.

Shane Warne, does speak his mind though. In his column for the Herald Sun, he says –

RICKY Ponting made elementary captaincy mistakes in India and put himself ahead of the Australian team

Warne further goes on to say that Ponting always admits his mistakes. But as far as I can remember, Ponting has had trouble admitting mistakes and it is no different on this occasion. If you remember the Sydney test, he kept repeatedly saying that whatever he did in that game was right. It didn’t matter what everyone else said or wrote. His response pretty much sounded like a "I am right, you are wrong". He is taking the same stance now. It not only reeks of arrogance, but it means he will repeat the same mistakes again – maybe even to prove a point. Ponting has now gone on print saying that he would indeed do it all again.

Selfish decision?

Ponting also goes on to claim that the decision had nothing to do with a looming one match suspension if the over rate was short, but to uphold the spirit of the game.

What the !?

This is what Ponting has said

If you get outside that and get nine and 10 overs down, it’s borderline not playing within the spirit of the game

Seriously, how is he able to keep a straight face and actually say that? Where was the spirit when the Sydney test was being played? The spirit is not a ghost that has suddenly made an appearance on the 4th day evening, is it?

Neilson has this to say in his blog

Ricky had to take a number of things into consideration, and having the prospect of a suspension for slow over rate hanging over his head was only part of it

He then goes on to talk about he spirit of the game…At least this time the two agree. When the Bret Lee – Ponting spat come to light, the two gave different reasons on why Lee wasn’t given a bowl.

Whatever the two say, I find it really really hard to believe that Australia decided to let the Indians off the hook because they thought the game was more important than the win and that they seriously thought that being a few overs short would undermine the spirit of the game. Sorry, I just don’t buy into this argument.

Ponting took the decision that being suspended was not an option. Even if it let India off the hook.

Ponting as a captain should have taken one for the team. After all, the overrate was slow and it is eventually the captains fault – he should have been prepared to take the blame and wear a one match suspension if it was handed down. At least his team would have still been in the reckoning to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

(Moving on a tangent, the decision that Ponting took was so bad that if a team like Pakistan had done something similar, there would be cries of Match fixing and calls for an ICC investigation. Think about that…)

Sacking Ponting not the answer

Sacking Ponting as captain is not the answer, though. He may not be the best captain Australia has had, but he is still the best person to lead the team – for now, anyway. However, it is time he came off from his high horse, explained the real reasons – right or wrong, accept it as a mistake and move on.

-Mahesh-

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34 responses to “Ponting’s decision

  1. Wouldn’t the suspension threat have gone out of the window if he had got India all out? Dhoni’s over rates were poor as well on the 5th morning but he bowled Australia out before the question could be asked!

    Ponting’s thinking was very confusing and I suppose completely dumb and I also think that their coach has a lot to do with it as well.

  2. chris hutchinson

    Noone can really deny the lunacy of what took place.

    Match fixing! I take your point but the best match fixers, Hansie aside, have been from the Asian bloc.

    The best captan has the best results. There is no way in the world Ponting has had sides of the srength that Steve Waugh had, test in test out. Mark Taylor was also renowned for his captaincy “greatness”, or the intuitive aspects of his leadership; but his battin fell apart whilst he great team kept him in the job.

    The criticism of Ponting is justified but everyone seems to want to put it down to him and Neilsen. Wrong! I think something hasnt been revealed as yet and until the spat that exists between CA and the “Sydney Three” we wont see this issue go away.

    The only thing that can come out of this is faster over rates.

    Ponting will lead up until the Australian media make it untenable.

    What remains to be seen is whether Australia can continue to perform when the greats are gone – which they have.

    I am tipping that by the time Ponting finishes as captain, his win rate will still outstrip Dhoni’s.

    Read into that as you will.

    Finally, on the point of wrong.

    Gambhir was wrong. Bt doesnt want to know about it.

    He refers to all sledging being banned yet he is happy to fall n behind his sledging Indian teammates whilst dishing out a few chicken wings.

    India will have to snarten up or their double standards will choke them – if the countries politicking stakeholders dont do it first.

  3. @chris

    Whoa! What is this about “best match fixers”? You are either a murderer or you are not! The best murderer thrusts the knife in harder. That’s about all.

    The first people who ought to have been fined for match fixing were Shane Warne and Mark Waugh! Give me a break! They were fined, after much stuff that was pushed under the carpet, was removed. It was thought at the time that” “They were a few good, honest blokes that had committed an error.”

    It is my recurring theme.

    I am disappointed that Gambhir has said he wasn’t remorseful that he stuck his elbow out. But at least he is young and inexperienced. He will learn. Someone will kick his head in.

    However, I am staggered and stupefied that the experienced Ponting refuses to think he is anything other than a Saint! He can do no wrong in his own eyes, it seems! As Shane Warne says, Ponting can’t go wrong by having dinner with Ian Chappell, Alan Border and Steve Waugh — his fiercest post-Nagpur critics — to understand their point of view. He can be mellow and modest in his approach. But his countenance will not allow him that humility.

    It never has!

    And that’s my problem with him as a leader. Unlike Border, who had to fight, fight, fight and fight the hardest way possible to build and lead his team and unlike Taylor who had compassion, empathy and humility to go with a great team that he had built painstakingly, Ponting was handed it on a platter. And he built on it with nothing more that large doses of arrogance.

    Mahesh made the right call. Ponting has to go. Roebuck made the call after Sydney. I didn’t agree with Roebuck then. I do, now. Ponting is a self-obsessed, petulant, irksome, pesky and testy leader (I’ve learned much from Saltau and Conn!) who thinks he is bigger than the game and whips out that banal and cynical “spit of the game” document when it suits him.

    And whether or not Ponting’s win-rate outstrips either Dhoni or a Tasmanian pole dancer is irrelevant in this context.

    — Mohan

  4. Ponting’s record is second only to Steve Waugh. He also led the side to 16 wins in a row. You can’t say that he was jus lucky because of the team he had, because then you must also say that Steve Waugh wasn’t such a great captain either.

    I also love the disagreement with Shane Warnes comments, because clearly you are more qualified than him to pass judgement. I also find it laughable that you want Ponting to admit to mistakes, just because you think they are mistakes.

    Why don’t you concentrate on Indian cricket, as you claim you do on this blog. Because frankly this blog is little more than Aussie bashing these days.

  5. chris hutchinson

    @Mohan,

    You brought up match fixing mate! You know what I mean so again lose the semantics.

    When do you think the next match-fixer will be exhonerated?

    Warne and Waugh, two of the sharpest tools in the shed(!@#$%^&*) got their just deserts. As I have said before though, Mark Waugh’s ability to glide the ball to the slip cordon was amazing.

    Gambhir is not young or inexperienced. He is petulant as is Ponting. I comfortably agree with you re Ponting’s personal traits. But he has NEVER suggested he is a saint and wears his “backstreets of Mowbray” tag like a badge of honour.

    On the spirit of the game, it should be torched and replaced by a global agreement which eliminates cultural issues (sounds ridiculous but the common ground is cricket and it can be done if sacrifices are made by all parties).

    Yes I know various things exist but seems to go beyond understanding.

    Let’s be frank! Cricket is an aggressive game now and it isnt just Australia’s fault. It’s about winning and money. But it most certainly is not at the expense of good hard cricket played within the rules.

    Personal abuse is not sledging. PA should be outlawed.

    ps. Mohan what is your takes on Lalit Modi to the ECB re part-time IPL players.

    This is going to get messy my friend.

  6. @Steve

    Most blogs in the world are about Aussie bashing these days! That’s what happens when champions go down. Even the Kiwis are flexing their muscles. Take it on the chin. We’ve been doing that in India for a century and could teach you how to take it well. It will get better!

    @Chris

    Yes Gambhir is young and inexperienced when compared to Ponting. Remember that when Ponting was the same experience as Gambhir he was collecting black eyes in pubs! So, bear that in mind when I say “at least” in the Gambhir-Ponting comparison, which you started on this thread.

    Ponting, as captain, should learn from Smith, Vaughan, Kumble or Dhoni. Wild ways, petulant behavious, callous disrespect for officials and chest-thumps should be locked away. He never has locked it away. Don’t think he ever will.

    Modi and ECB — another day! Messy indeed. Modi should lose, but given he is fighting with the ECB, Modi will win! The ECB will not win the lottery even if someone gives them the winning number!

  7. So you are sticking the boot in because you are sick of the Aussies winning the past?

    Judging from past events, Team India will soon descend into ego’s and infighting. I am looking forward to this self-destruction.

    Have you fun in the sun. Because nightfall is inevitable and when it does, you will get yours.

  8. chris hutchinson

    @Steve,

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeesss!

    @Mohan,

    Smith! You have got to be joking? ..or should I have said choking.

    Vaughan! You cannot be serious. I wish I could go back and go thru test by test as to how EVERYONE said Vaughan out-captained Ponting.

    The only thing Vaughan did right in 2005 is captain a side that out-bowled Australia.

    And we all know now that they cheated.

    Funnily enough! No-one had anything to say about how Australia just moved on Mohan. Knowng that they had been dudded.

    As I have said to you before. I do not expect Zaheer and Sharma will come out and tell us how Venkatesh Prasad has gone from bowling plodder to coaching genious; nor that they used “Murray’s Mints”.

    As for Kumble and Dhoni! Just hang on for a while. I cant stick the boot into Kumble he is just too nice a bloke. How was his win loss?

    I cant give Dhoni anything yet because everyone is just n love with him.

    Let the effigy burning begin.

  9. I am sick of this claim that the Aussies are arrogant.

    Look at the recent comments by Gambhir and Harbhajan. These are the most arrogant comments I have seen in a long time.

  10. @Steve

    An arrogant comment for one is a statement of purpose for another. Australians have been dishing it out for years. They need to now learn to accept it. Peter Lalor terms Harbhajan Singh India’s “sneering Sikh”! The “Adjective Watch” department of i3j3Cricket has recruited 3 new staff! We can’t keep up with the nonsense that gets dished out! In the last 2 weeks, three Australian players have called Indians cheats! At the start of the tour Ponting basically called the Indian team fat, lazy, ugly, weak, slow and aging! And you say the Aussies are not arrogant? As I said, one persons’ arrogance is anothers’ statement of intent. Good on Harbhajan Singh for saying what he did. The Aussies still claim he lied. He is entitled to his defence. Gambhir… well he wants to get stuck into the Aussies and give back as good as he gets. Against any other team, I’d have called Gambhir a pillock. Against Australia, I call him a legend!

    @Chris

    Once you have stopped ejaculating over Steve’s comments, perhaps you can come down to earth.

    Absolutely yes. Champions have to be beaten. If Australia won everything in sight, world cricket would be too boring. As I said, even NZ is flexing its muscles.

    And Chris, you have demonstrated the exact same Anglo-Saxon mistrust that I have been talking about. You have said, “If an Asian bloke does well on the cricket field, he must have cheated.”

    Shame on you! Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. Stand back, cos that mirror may break in shock if you don’t.

  11. Rumpelstiltskin

    Guys. Listen me out for a moment.

    Dont you think all this bashing and finger pointing is leaving a bad taste in the mouth? Ever since the beginning of this year, blogs all over have had less content about the game and more about what happens outside the game.

    Its becoming unpleasant, to say the least. Obnoxious. This is cricket, a game we all came to cherish growing up. Let us not sully the game anymore by resorting to such war of words.

    Forget about Ponting’s ‘spirit of cricket’ document for a moment. Forget about Dhoni’s 8-1 tactics which purportedly let cricket down. Let us bring in our own spirit of cricket here. Dont you think that as followers of the game and as bloggers of the game we also have a duty, albeit in a very miniscule scale to uphold the spirit of the game?

    And we dont need a document for that.

  12. Rumpelstiltskin,

    I think it too late for that now actually.

    I don’t think some Indian supporters realise how much damage they have done to their cricket team’s reputation over the past couple of years.

    And because cricket involves representing one’s country, a lot of damage has been done to the reputation of India itself in this country.

    FK

  13. FK,

    Well said. Every decision is questioned and appealed. The BCCI trying to hold the rest of the cricketing world to ransom. Aussies are plain sick of this team and its administration.

    If it was up to me, I wouldn’t tour India or allow them to tour Australia. I watch cricket because it is fun. It’s not fun with this lot.

    Steve

  14. @Steve

    The Aussies think the Indians are at fault. The Indians think the Aussies are at fault. The circle is never-ending.

    But I am convinced that it was Ponting’s pigheadedness that caused Sydney. He chose his path and let down his team. In Nagpur, he chose his path again and let down his team. All in the name of “Spit of Cricket”. How many more such disasters do we tolerate? Get him out. Better for cricket.

  15. Guys, Guys, Guys….Lighten up 🙂

    Let me concede a few things here –
    1. India may have beaten Australia in this series, but Australia is still the best team in the World
    2. Believe it or not, I actually admire Australian cricket and the way they have dominated the sport – but not necessarily the way they play sometimes
    4. Indian cricket has a long way to go before they come close to what the Aussies have achieved in the last few years.
    5. India are an unpredictable bunch and may lose to even weaker team (like England) right after the win against the Aussies
    6. BCCI is a very unpopular organisation – even with Indians. Even if they were half as professional as CA, we’ll all be a happy bunch
    7. This site is not dedicated to Australia bashing – and we don’t have the tall poppy syndrome. We criticise/bash everyone equally :), but reserve special criticism for India, BCCI and its players

    Now that I’ve got that out of the way – let me add that none of the comments you guys have written has anything to say about why Ponting may have decided to go with his part-time bowlers. Do you guys (FK, Steve, Chris, et al) think he was doing it in the greater interest of the game and uphold its spirit? (This incident did happen “inside” of the game, didn’t it?)

    Everyone seems to have taken offence to my comment that Ponting is not a great captain and completely missed the rest of what I had to say.

    Oh, and @FK – CA and the players must be glad it’s not up to you to decide on whether India tours or not – they need the money 🙂

  16. Steve and FK:

    1. When Border, Chappelli and Steve Waugh talk about Punter and his serious blunders and the Conns and Lalors throw abrasive adjectives, it’s all cricket and fair; but when we discuss teh same issues objectively, you guys don’t want to be part of ir. If you can’t take the heat and get some objectivity in, you are welcome to leave.

    2. Wasn’t it the famous Australian Steve Waugh who coined the phrase ‘mental disintegration’ which had nothing to do with ‘playing cricket’? Very short memory eh?

    3. We indians are passionate about our cricket but will not tolerate infiltrators who don’t fron up with facts.

    4. i fyou don’t tour India or let India tour Australia, you know what will happen to CA – just won’thave the money to have central contracts and the millions won’t comemthrough to the players via IPL. You want to stay as the gold fish in the bowl and play with the Kiwis and Poms, yes you’ll always be the winners – enjoy the false sense of pride

  17. @ Mohan,

    How about you get rid of Harbhajan and Gambhir?

    Steve

  18. Blogesh,

    A sensible post. Agree with all the points you make. I don’t mind a strong India, it’s good for cricket.

    I used to love the tour of India. But these days it is nothing but drama and insults.

    What I do take offense to is this rubishing of what are fantastic players. Pontings record stands for itself. Sure the tour didn’t go as well as it could have, but that’s life. Australia doesn’t change captains very often, one of the reasons its team is stable.

    As for the over-rate, I think Ponting did what he thought was the right thing to do. He should be commended for taking the approach of trying to bowl out 90 overs. Not good for the team, but good for cricket.

    Enough from me. I have made my thoughts pretty clear. Don’t expect agreement.

    Steve

  19. @Steve: Why? Because they are good? I won’t have them as captain. But they should play.

  20. chris hutchinson

    @Mohan,

    I havent been able to stop laughing. You’ve made my day.

    But no! I wasnt ejaculating. Just happy.

    If you would prefer, like Bryan, that I do not respond to your blogs. Please advise and I shall move on.

    But someone’s got to stick it to you. Presuming I disagree!

  21. @Steve

    You say: “I used to love the tour of India. But these days it is nothing but drama and insults.”

    Just remember that it cuts both ways. Drama and insults do not happen randomly and wantonly amongst individuals and fans. It takes two hands to clap. You can’t say that it is ALWAYS the fault of them bas****s.

    You then say: “What I do take offense to is this rubishing of what are fantastic players.”

    But isn’t that exactly what you, Lalor, Saltau and Conn are doing to Harbhajan Singh and Gambhir? What makes you think that we Indians think that they are any less “fantastic” than Ponting?

    As I said, it takes two hands to clap.

  22. @Chris

    I can’t advise you to respond or not to this blog. You are old enough and ugly enough to change your own nappies. You are welcome to try to stick it to me. If you do it sensibly and with respect, I will respond. But if I see a halo, the gloves are not far behind.

  23. Mohan,

    Lalor calling for Ponting to be sacked is just stupid. To support this notion is equally stupid.

    And I completely agree. It take two hands to clap.

    Right now, India is gloating. Fine, but don’t attempt “reconciliation” at the same time. As I have said, there is a lot of ill will at the behaviour of the Indian team and particularly the board that they hide behind. They are in the privileged position of dominating the financial position of cricket. And this privilege is being abused.

    The way I see this is that India feel they have been neglected for a long period of time and they are determined to punish everyone as quickly as possible as their revenge.

    I think that Team India are poor loses, poor winners, whingers and arrogant without the track record to be so. You think that the Aussies are the same. So as long as this is the position, there is no point in further discussion.

    Steve

  24. Steve,

    What if India really have been at the receiving end previously? What if India have been unjustly neglected in the past? If that was true, will India be justified in behaving the way they are now?

    Let me put the question differently. Hypothetically, had it been Australia who had this percieved notion of having been neglected in the past, what sort of behaviour would they be putting up now? Would they be behaving like angels?

    I am not hinting or suggesting anything here. Its just a way of looking at it from a different perspective.

  25. @Steve

    I’ve responded to you but replacing “India” with “Australia”, current-tense with past-tense and “board” to “Spit of Cricket”. I have made other minor changes to your text to make it consistent. But the structure is the same.

    ***************

    Earlier, Australia was gloating. Fine, but don’t attempt “reconciliation” at the same time. As I have said, there is a lot of ill will at the behaviour of the Australian team and particularly the “Spit of Cricket” that they hide behind. They were in the privileged position of dominating the position of cricket. And this privilege was being abused.

    The way I see this is that Australia feel they have been privileged for a long period of time and they were determined to punish everyone as quickly as possible as their revenge.

    I think that Team Australia are poor losers, poor winners, whingers and arrogant without the need to be so. You think that the Indians are the same. So as long as this is the position, there is no point in further discussion.

    ***************

    You can now join JB… 🙂

  26. Unknown,

    It’s a perfectaly understandable thing to do. There is even a name for it. “Reverse Discrimination”.

    Trouble is, it doesn’t help resolve anything.

    I don’t know how India has been mistreated in the past by the way. This is just what I feel is going on.

    England (and Lords in particular) has been the custodian of cricket for two centuries. From where I sit, there is a lot to live up to.

    Steve.

  27. Steve,

    I believe you are right. It doesnt help resolve anything.

    Whether or not India is adopting this kind of behaviour to compensate for perceived past insults is something I dont know.

    What I do know is that this situation will continue to go from bad to worse unless India adopts a gracious behaviour and agree to use its position beneficially for the game. At the same time, Australia and other countries who hold positions of influence in the cricketing world (non asian countries, especially) should also graciously accept India’s growing influence in the game. In other words, co-existence with harmony.

    Whether the twain shall ever meet is a point to ponder.

    My two cents on the whole issue.

  28. I reckon that was a good bucks worth there!

  29. Aussies playing the victim. How the once mighty have fallen.

  30. Slightly OT, but this is the level of Aussies frustration, Hayden calling India a ‘third world country’:

    “Often we find ourselves waiting with hands on hips for someone to
    face up or someone on the sight board to move away or some of those
    little frustrations happening with third world countries,” Hayden was
    quoted as saying by Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph.”
    “http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2008/nov/13hayden-calls-india-third-world-country.htm

    Now, a third world country is considered a very derogatory comment – wonder how the politically correct Australian press is going to respond to this ?
    Will they call Hayden, a loose-mouth, will they question the hollowness of his brain, will they castigate him for insulting a country where he will go back next year to earn a few millions ?

    For some reason, I am not holding my breath 🙂

  31. Again, OT; I am surprised that the Aussies are now custodians of the definition of racism. When Bhaaji called Symonds a “monkey” and, somehow, nobody was able to really prove he had, the Aussies feel it is OK to keep insisting he is racist. However, when Mathew Hayden calls Bhajji “an obnoxious weed” on a radio show that thousands would have heard, he is not called racist.
    Bottom line, if the Aussies feel something is racist in nature, they dont even need to prove it. If they do not feel something is racist, it doesn’t matter who said it and at what platform.
    Personally, I would be hyper-offended if someone called me “an obnoxious weed”…but who cares,, rt !

  32. Pingback: i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  33. Pingback: India wins again in cordial environment - a1 India News.com

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