Ricky Ponting should bid us farewell this series

Michael Filosi Roar Guru

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    Outscoring the opponent - one of Ponting's many records. AAP Picture

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    Australia enters its two Test match series against New Zealand this week with a raft of injury concerns, and it must be tempting for the new selectors to try and keep some degree of stability in the side over the Australian summer.

    With five players ruled out through injury from this Thursday’s Test match, suddenly former captain Ricky Ponting’s ongoing form issues seem the least of their concerns.

    A week is a long time in cricket.

    Before the start of the Johannesburg Test, Ponting’s head was on the chopping block, but his half century in that Test and the injuries to Australian players have meant that talk of Ponting’s career coming to a close has abated for the moment.

    While Ponting may have a temporary stay of execution, the issue of his ongoing position in the side does not disappear by mere distraction alone.

    For over a decade Ricky Ponting was the rock of the Australian middle order. The sight of Ponting striding to the crease at first drop lowered the mood of opposition fielding sides the world over, such was his ability to carve up bowling attacks and his appetite for big scores.

    It was a fairly simple equation – Ponting equalled runs.

    However Ponting is not the player he was at his peak. He has not scored a Test century for close to two years and next month he will turn 37. In a side which is in a state of flux both on and off the field, it is becoming more difficult to mount a strong case to keep Ponting in the Australian side.

    When discussion turns to whether the former captain should remain in the team, it is curious to note that those in favour of keeping Ponting in the side offer reasons which have nothing to do with his batting output.

    It is suggested that Ponting offers stability to a changing team, he can provide sound counsel to captain Michael Clarke, and is able to pass on his cricketing wisdom to the next generation of Australian players.

    It is said that Ponting’s influence cannot be measured in runs alone, and this may be true, but it is troubling that the word ‘runs’ is no longer in the first several reasons offered for keeping him in the side.

    Surely the scoring of runs, and loads of them, is the first and most important criteria when selecting a middle order batsman.

    There is no doubt that Ponting does have a great deal of experience to offer the next generation of players, but this alone should not be enough for him to retain his position in the side.

    If Ponting wants to help the next generation of Australian players, and convey to them what the fabled baggy green means to him, then he be better off taking up a coaching role rather than retaining the number four batting slot as Minister for Stability and Team Spirit.

    Much is made of Sachin Tendulkar’s form in the past few years, and the late career resurgence of the Indian batsman is offered as a reason to retain Ponting in the Australian side, in the belief that Ponting too will rediscover his best cricket.

    However, this suggestion overlooks the fact that while Tendulkar and Ponting were both highly effective batsmen at their peaks, they are not one and the same.

    Ponting’s quest to continue his Test career should be judged on its own merit, without reference to Tendulkar’s rich vein of form in his late thirties.

    Ponting shepherded the side through the difficult period that came with the retirement of stars Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Under new captain Michael Clarke the dynamics of the side have changed.

    The current Test side is a collection of old-timers, up-and-comers and those clinging for dear life to their spot in the team.

    In any event, there are enough wise heads in the current team to steer the Australian side through the next few years without Ponting. Captain Michael Clarke has an excellent understanding of the game, and is showing himself to be a very capable leader. The experienced Michael Hussey and Shane Watson also have much guidance to offer those new to the side.

    The Second Test match against New Zealand in Ponting’s home state of Tasmania could provide a suitable send-off.

    This will allow Michael Clarke and his team to start afresh for the four Test series against India starting on Boxing Day without Ponting’s position in the side continuing to provide distraction to a team yet to settle on its best eleven.

    Ricky Ponting has been a fantastic servant of Australian cricket, and in his prime there was no better batsman in world cricket. All things must come to an end though, and the Bellerive Test match would provide a fitting end to a remarkable career.

    Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelFilosi

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    The Crowd Says (56)

    • November 28th 2011 @ 7:21am
      matt said | November 28th 2011 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      I completely agree. It will be interesting to see what happens if Kwaja or Warner gets runs and Marsh is fit. I wonder if the selectors are feeling a little silly after their new look test attack was belted yesterday?

      • November 28th 2011 @ 8:35am
        Chris said | November 28th 2011 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        No, I don’t think the selectors are feeling at all silly, if only for the reason that their hand has been forced in regards to the bowling attack. Who else could they have picked?

        • November 28th 2011 @ 10:52am
          jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          Copeland

          • November 28th 2011 @ 11:02am
            Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            I’m a big Copeland fan but he’s only taken 1 wicket in 3 shield games this season (well 2.5 games with WA’s second innings to come today.) He’s keeping it tight but the lack of wickets is a worry right now.

            • November 28th 2011 @ 11:52am
              Red Kev said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:52am | ! Report

              It’s an odd argument but how many wickets does Copeland get at the other end? He isn’t a strike bowler, he’s the guy that bowls tight continually for long spells and suffocates a batsmen. The other bowlers are the beneficiary of his skill. This is why he should be in the attack.
              If McDermott or someone else worked with him to give him an extra yard or two of pace such that he could match McGrath’s pace late in his career (135kph or so if I recall correctly) then he’d be ideal – and as such he’s worth selecting.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 12:01pm
                Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                I agree, it’s something that I’ve said about Copeland for a long time. Batsmen have to score runs eventually and when they can’t score runs off him then they often get out trying to score off the other bowler. It’s what made Harris and Copeland so effective with the new ball in SL. Its’ also whay Siddle and Johnson don’t work very well together because neither can build any pressure. I’m personally surprised that Copeland wasn’t selected, especially given that one bowler will need to bowl long, tight spells in Watsons absence. I’m just giving the reason why they didn’t pick him.

                Of course, after I made the comment, he’s taken 2 wickets this morning in the Shield. With that kind of timing I should be a commentator! 🙂

              • November 28th 2011 @ 3:11pm
                jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                2 for 24 in 19 overs.

                Pretty bloody handy.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 6:05pm
          matt said | November 28th 2011 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

          Copeland, He gets wickets at the other end and with the NZ batting looking suspiciously like a 20/20 line up a specialist who keeps it tight might just help. The selected bowlers have all be known to leak runs at the wrong moment.(although we don’t know what Lyon can do yet.)

          • November 28th 2011 @ 10:45pm
            jarrod said | November 28th 2011 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

            although i agree copeland is a quality bowler and will be around the traps this summer a green top gabba wicket is the ideal time to try our fast swing bowlers, copeland’s suited to the slow wickets like the mcg and adelaide etc but at the gabba, it’s really the ideal time for guys like cutting starc and pattinson, copeland might even get a run in hobart on a slower wicket, mind you cummins and harris could be back,but considering cutting has been smashing it at the gabba this year and starc just took 13 wickets in three innings there you get the feeling pace is the key, the fact hes got 1 wicket in 2and half shield games [at the time they selected the side anyway] and also missed out against south afrca A didn’t help his cause. anyway at least we have good depth looks as if we’ll need it this summer!

    • November 28th 2011 @ 8:28am
      Jack said | November 28th 2011 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Asking if Ponting should be dropped is the wrong question. Who is the player pushing with the form to replsce him is the real quesion and I think the answer is there is no one puttiing up thier had with a load of runs. All the possible replacements are in line based on potential, not form.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 8:42am
        Chris said | November 28th 2011 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        I would be astonished if Ponting voluntarily retired. I think its clear that if the selectors want him gone, they will have to pull the trigger. And his replacement is Usman Khawaja, who has already proven himself to be more than competent in the Test team.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 9:18am
          Australian Rules said | November 28th 2011 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          I agree with Jack. Is Usman Khawaja a better Test batsman than Ponting? Is Marsh better? The answer is certainly no.

          Yes, his lean trot has extended for far too long, he himself concedes that. But I think there is some merit in hoping for a Sachin-esque renaissance.
          Ponting has batted at 3 for longer than any other batsmen (Bradman included). Add to that the burden of Captain, until recently. It’s undoubtedly the most demanding position to bat…Sachin has been somewhat protected at 4 for most of his career. Imagine Ricky coming in at 4 or 5…
          Warner
          Hughes
          Khawaja
          Clarke
          Ponting
          Watson
          I say put him down the order, free him up, and let the runs return.

          You don’t sack the greatest batsman in Australia for the last 65 years because a younger kid MIGHT be better than him.

          • November 28th 2011 @ 9:43am
            Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 9:43am | ! Report

            They’re certainly not better then the Ponting of 5 years ago but they are much better then a 37 y/o who averages 24 this calendar year. Keep in mind that Ponting’s only averaged above 40 once over the past 5 years.

            I’m not sure how you’ve dropped Hussey given he was our best batsman against England and SL.

            • November 28th 2011 @ 10:54am
              jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              Certainly no, AR? Certainly?

              Ponting certainly a better test batsman than Khawaja and Marsh right now?

              The stats don’t back that up.

              I want to see what happens if Davey Warner gets runs and Hughes fails twice caught in slips the usual way.

              I didn’t like how the selection panel said Haddin’s oplace was not even discussed.

              And it’s awful what they’ve done to Copeland. It’s not his fault he hasn’t bowled much in games lately. You don’t look at the last month in isolation, you look at trends over 12-24 months.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 6:56pm
                Fisher Price said | November 28th 2011 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

                The Ponting situation is a farce now and Copeland’s non-selection is ridiculous.

          • November 28th 2011 @ 11:54am
            Red Kev said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            The last start 62 of Ponting’s was the first innings in more than 12 months that has had a positive effect no Ponting’s career average. And as has been pointed out, averaging in the 20s the last two years, less than 40 for the last fice years – Ponting doesn’t deserve to be selected on form.
            Marsh, Khawaja and Warner all have better first class figures in recent times.
            Ricky needs to be booted.

            • November 29th 2011 @ 10:46pm
              WoobliesFan said | November 29th 2011 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

              Here here…..its obvious theres better batsman in the wings……some ppl dont want to admit it.

              Ponting is done, he’s deadwood.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 11:47pm
          Lolly said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

          An average of 31 hasn’t proved anything much, though I do agree with you that he needs some time in the team.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 9:41am
        Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Jack, the two players to come in are Watson and Marsh, both of whom would be considered regular starters by most people. If Warner (who’s been in great form) or Khawaja (who top scored in the second innings in Jo’burg) do better than Ponting, then Ponting (on current form) is the logical choice to be axed. What will save him is if Watson and Marsh aren’t fit for Hobart.

      • Roar Guru

        November 28th 2011 @ 4:02pm
        Michael Filosi said | November 28th 2011 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        I’m not so sure I agree Jack. I think that you can mount a valid argument that a few players outside the Test team do deserve their place in the side at the expense of Ponting based on form, not just potential.

    • November 28th 2011 @ 9:22am
      Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      What is our obsession with youth? Are the young players vying for Ponting’s place averaging 50+ with hundreds aplenty? No, they are simply having good starts to their first class careers and are being earmarked for future success based on talent.

      But consider all the good young players that have eventually become great. What did they all have? Great mentors. Tendulkar had Vengsarkar, Lara had Richardson, Grennidge and Haynes, Ponting had the Waugh twins.

      Ponting is now at the twilight and is nowhere near the player he once was. But who will mentor the likes of Khawaja, Marsh and Warner if he doesn’t? Clarke is the captain and has enough on his plate, and Hussey (unlike other mentoring players) finds himself at number 6 where the opportunity to influence a match is far less.

      In short, Australia NEEDS Ricky Ponting right now, because along with the runs he does make (and I think he will make them this summer), he will provide a priceless source of learning for our younger batsmen that they simply won’t get anywhere else. Keeping Ponting until the end of the summer might be the best thing for Australian cricket. The worst thing would be to jettison him now, and then realise our young players dont have a vital font of experience around them.

      And while Ponting plays, let one or two of those younger guys ply their trades in the Shield and amass 1000 runs for the season and really bang the door down for selection…

      • November 28th 2011 @ 9:50am
        Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        I’m happy to admitt hat Pontings experience off the field must be of value, but his lack of runs means that the younger players are having to carry him on the field which is a big problem. This isn’t a short form slump either but one that has occured over 3 years.

        Clarke, Watson and Hussey are all experienced at the highest level (I’d move Hussey to 4 and Watson to 6 personally) so can all help to mentor the young players comng through. We also have a coaching staff who should be doing alot of this work. Besides Marsh is in his late 20’s so whilst he may be inexperienced at test level he hardly needs someone to hold his hand (and he’s had plenty of ODI/T20 experience for Australia.)

      • November 28th 2011 @ 11:03am
        jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Vas we can’t pick our team on who we think will score runs this summer. It has to be a more material process than that.

        As for your question yes, warner is averaging 50+ with 100s aplenty. But Ponting is averaging 25 with rare 50s. Why do the replacements have to be doing 2-3 times as well to replace him? Marsh has started well in test cricket and appears to have the right temperament. Khawaja ditto though hasn’t started quite as well as marsh.

        Hughes – well – who ever knows what he’ll do.

        In any case Khawaja, Marsh, Warner and Hughes have already played plenty of cricket with Ponting.

        I’d tell him now he’s gone after Hobart, and let him announce that he’s retiring. It’s time to move on. Yes he might score some good runs this summer, but so too most likely will his successor.

        He was not a successful captain and him being there is not part of making the players honoured to have been part of his era, the way it would have been with say Steve Waugh.

        I think the 6 batsmen we need in the top 6 for the following 6 months are Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Marsh, Hussey and Warner. As to what order – well, I’d consider moving Hussey back to opening because I’d rather see Warner at 6. Marsh/Khawaja one opens and the other 3. Watson at 5.

        And Haddin gone of course. Lack of grey matter, unreliable, sloppy keeping – time to go.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 11:18am
          Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          What if the young players fail James? Who do you turn to then? Do you keep them in so they are pigs for slaughter with their confidence shattered, or do you keep a stable hand in the team?

          Ponting is needed this summer because he has a history of performing well against India at home. And if you ask India’s bowlers whether they want Australia with or without Ponting, they will prefer not to bowl to him. Sometimes its about doing what the opposition wants you least to do.

          A lineup without Ponting looks dangerously short of experience. I’d be wary about going in without him.

          • November 28th 2011 @ 11:24am
            jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:24am | ! Report

            What if Ponting fails Vas? What’s your point?

            There are no guarantees in selection, but all you can do is make the right call based on the evidence before you.

            On your logic you never pick a young guy in case they fail. In Hughes’s case they were clearly right to drop him in England, as the replacement did much better. And it wasn’t just the fact that Hughes failed 4 times – it was HOW he failed. He looked totally out of his depth and barely scored a run for 18 months afterwards. Almost everyone will have to deal with getting dropped one day and it’s how they come back that shows what they’re made of.

            I just said on another thread I think all three of Warner, Marsh and Khawaja are on their way up and have passed Ponting on the way down. That pretty much says it all.

            You’re focusing on whether Ponting will score some good runs this summer – what about the others?

            • November 28th 2011 @ 11:36am
              Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:36am | ! Report

              James, the Indian bowlers would rather bowl to a batting lineup with Warner, Marsh and Khawaja than one with Ponting in it. And given the Indian hopes of success (in my opinion) lie on the frail fitness of Zaheer Khan, the sight of Ponting walking out would be a massive test for the Indian bowlers.

              And if Ponting fails? You drop him and don’t look back. If Warner, Marsh and Khawaja fail, what do you do? Go back to Ponting? Katich maybe? Or should we send Brad Hodge an SOS to come out of retirement?

              Personally, Ponting should stay until the end of the summer, and then should be asked to go. After our home series against India, we have a trip to the West Indies, which would be a perfect time to regenerate for life post-Ponting.

              But against an Indian team with a trio that amasses nearly 500 Test caps together, we need that experience from Ponting. Pitting youngsters is foolhardy when the chance of failure means you have no one to turn back to…

              • November 28th 2011 @ 12:04pm
                Australian Rules said | November 28th 2011 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t have said it better Vas.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 12:07pm
                jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                Vas

                Ponting has been failing – for 2 years. Why give him more chances?

                Are you saying he should be asked to go at the end of the summer, regardless of form (in which case we’re only arguing about 4 tests)? I’d give him the two NZ tests.

                Why give Ponting the summer to prove himself, at 37 years of age, rather than give it to Marsh, Warner or Khawaja? Ponting has had 2-3 years to prove himself, and has failed, stubbornly playing the same shots too early in his innings and getting out the same way too often.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 12:16pm
                Quality said | November 28th 2011 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                Agree with you Vas – Ricky should be persisted with for the time being with such a young batting line up, and certainly the Indians would rather him out of the side than in. I think he’s aware that he needs runs to justify his position as well. Unlike last season he doesn’t have the burden of captaining a poorly selected and under-performing team. He can concentrate on his game and if he doesn’t make runs this summer and there are clear alternatives then fine, give him the ‘tap on the shoulder’. The Tendulkar comparison is often made but just as pertinent is Rahul Dravid. Dravid had a couple of lean years – not as statistically bad as Ricky but certainly he was being carried for a fair bit of the time. He’s now silenced all the critics and is as valuable to India as ever. Ricky has the calibre to do the same for Australia.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2011 @ 4:04pm
                Michael Filosi said | November 28th 2011 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                I don’t think that the Indian bowlers hold Ponting in quite the same high regard as you think they do. Last time the Indian side toured here Ishant Sharma worked him over beautifully, and I think they would fancy their chances against Ponting in the twilight of his career.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 7:00pm
                Fisher Price said | November 28th 2011 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                I disagree. Opponents must relish facing Ponting now.

              • November 28th 2011 @ 11:06pm
                jamesb said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

                Well done Vas

                Bravo!

                The way i see it, batting depth is very thin on the ground ATM . South Australia doesn’t have a batsmen averaging 40 plus. Queensland has 2 players averaging 40 plus, Jim Burns and Chris Lynn.

                Victoria has Chris Rogers and David Hussey. Both are old. Although Cam White has a healthy average, I’m not sure if he is test quality. Wade averages just under 40.

                Tasmania, maybe Ed Cowan (not including Ponting) WA has Marcus North the only player averaging over 40. Marsh averages under 40 in shield, but a good start in tests.

                NSW in this current shield game has Katich ave 50 plus, Jaques just under 50, Rohrer and Wicketkeeper Nevill 40 plus. Of course everyone has heard of Patterson.

                This doesn’t include Maddison just under 40, Khawaja 40 plus, Huhges 40 plus, Warner 50 plus. Of course i excluded Clarke and Watson.

                The batting stength ATM comes from NSW.

                Other states, TIME TO LIFT YOUR GAME!

                PS; NSW bias my backside, CHECK THE STATS

              • November 29th 2011 @ 9:29am
                Bayman said | November 29th 2011 @ 9:29am | ! Report

                Quality,

                As a long time Ponting fan I have come to the realisation in the last couple of years that he is not proving to be value for money. Too few runs from our “best” player.

                Vas talks of the need for mentoring the younger players. These guys are men, in their twenties, who are considered good enough to be playing Test cricket. They would have been mentored along the way but now is the time to stand on their own two feet. To grow up. If they want mentoring, what the hell is Langer there for?

                As for the Ponting/Dravid comparison it simply does not hold water. The similarity ends with their records and their age – and their records are vastly different over the last few years.

                Dravid is still making runs – and he was clearly India’s best batsman in England recently – because he does not, unlike Ponting, push hard at the ball early, play across the line too early, hook in the air too early, fall across his stumps too early. He gets in first, has a look, assesses the situation and with his soft hands just stays in. He’s not called “The Wall” for nothing.

                Ponting still has all the shots – although his pull and hook shots aren’t going in front of square too often these days – but he has yet to realise the time to play them. Ponting is an old warrior who wants to dominate bowlers. These days he lacks Dravid’s patience so The Wall keeps making runs and Ponting keeps getting out.

                Ponting’s troubles are as much in his head as his hands. The more the runs stay dried up the more pressure he feels to assert himself on the bowling – and the more mistakes he makes. And, seemingly, he is now incapable of learning from and correcting those mistakes. He knows what he’s doing wrong – he just can’t stop himself from doing it again.

                As such, his mentoring role is questionable. Professional cricketers are notoriously critical of players holding everyone up. Don’t kid yourself there aren’t batsmen out there looking at Ponting as a road block instead of a mentor.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 11:59am
        Red Kev said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        Why do you assume young players need mentoring? Warner has been using Langer as a mentor, Marsh and Khawaja are already very composed players, they don’t need a mentor in the team – they need teammates pulling their weight.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 11:51pm
        Lolly said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

        What are Hussey and Clarke? Are they morons who cannot convey anything they have learnt in test cricket to young players? Some the justifications for Punter remaining in the team verge on insulting to other squad members. He is batting at 4 – the only justification for him retaining his spot is him scoring runs and not just the odd 50 every fourth match either.

    • November 28th 2011 @ 10:10am
      Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      What’s wrong with the young players having to carry him? What better opportunity for a young player than to prove his mettle under pressure? Imagine how satisfying that 65 Khawaja scored against RSA would have felt once AUS got over the line in Joburg.

      I don’t mind the young players having to carry Ponting from time to time, because you can bet at some stage Ponting will return the favour. India’s bowlers are nowhere near as penetrative as South Africa’s, and if they err on indiscipline and bowl short, then I reckon Ponting will be up and running. As I said after Joburg, a 62 on a Day 4 Joburg wicket against Steyn, Morkel and Philander is easily 100+ against any other attack (bar England)…

      • November 28th 2011 @ 10:56am
        Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        A national team shouldn’t have to carry any players, at least not for 2+ years. There’s only 6 batsmen in a team (well 7 including modern keepers) so teams can’t affrord to carry one or two players for very long. We could when we were the clear number one and winning every test match but not anymore. What message does it send to the younger players if certain players get a free ride forever despite not contributing and others (like Hughes in the ’09 Ashes) get dropped after 1-2 bad matches?

        • November 28th 2011 @ 11:44am
          Chris said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          Exactly Matt.

          Ponting is supposed to be Australia’s best, most experienced batsman,. But he hasn’t scored a hundred since his double century in Hobart a couple of years ago. And let’s not forget he should have been out first ball in that innings too. He was dropped by someone who is now in jail for cheating.

          Hughes was dropped during an Ashes tour apparently due to poor technique – he was consistently getting out the same way (i.e. trying to cut too close to his body and getting caught in the cordon). Ponting is now in exactly the same boat He is getting out for low scores in essentially the same way – shuffling across his crease and getting LBW because he isn’t getting the bat behind the ball quickly enough. So does Hughes get dropped and Ponting survives?

          • November 28th 2011 @ 11:57am
            Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:57am | ! Report

            The thing is I understand that Ponting is given more time then the Hughes of ’09 to find form because of his record but 2 years is too long for any player, especially when the team is getting results which can be best described as “mixed.”

            Ponting has always had that particular weakness in his game. The difference was that, if Ponting survived until 20 back then then he would go on to make 100. At the moment if Ponting survives until 20 he’ll go on to make 25.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 11:45am
          Chris said | November 28th 2011 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          Exactly Matt.

          Ponting is supposed to be Australia’s best, most experienced batsman,. But he hasn’t scored a hundred since his double century in Hobart a couple of years ago. And let’s not forget he should have been out first ball in that innings too. He was dropped by someone who is now in jail for cheating.

          Hughes was dropped during an Ashes tour apparently due to poor technique – he was consistently getting out the same way (i.e. trying to cut too close to his body and getting caught in the cordon). Ponting is now in exactly the same boat He is getting out for low scores in essentially the same way – shuffling across his crease and getting LBW because he isn’t getting the bat behind the ball quickly enough. So why does Hughes get dropped and Ponting survives?

    • November 28th 2011 @ 1:21pm
      Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      The way some people go on about our current Test players compared to the ones coming up, it would make it sound as if we’re a terrible, terrrible team.

      Newsflash. We’re fourth in the world. Given that only one of the three teams above us can truly claim to be our superior (England), that’s not a bad return for a side supposedly in transition.

      To give a better example, I did a bit of maths work in my spare time at work today. Since the end of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath’s career on January 6, 2007, Australia have played 48 Tests. We have won 23, drawn 10, and lost 15. Out of those 15 losses, five are against England, five against India, four against South Africa, and one against Pakistan.

      In comparison, India have played 55 Tests in that same period since Warne and McGrath’s retirement. In those 55 Tests, they have won 23, drawn 20 and lost 12.

      What does that say? It says two things. One, Australia plays in conditions that are far more favourable in terms of producing results. Two, Australia (in comparison to India) plays a brand of cricket that encourages a result rather than a draw.

      I think everything needs perspective. The thing regarding Ponting is that he needs to perform. But the risk involved in dropping him for poor form is far less than the prospect of dropping a youngster for poor form.

      Look at the future all you want. But if these youngsters are suddenly found wanting against a team like India with a mass of experience, where’s your leadership? In the early stages of Clarke’s career as captain, he needs Ponting, the same as Ponting needed Darren Lehmann back in 2004.

      We can always drop Ponting. But we can’t turn back to him. Whereas if you drop a Warner or a Khawaja, they know they’ll be back if they keep playing well in the Shield.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 1:28pm
        jameswm said | November 28th 2011 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        That’s a very negative or pessimistic way to pick a side – based on what you do if things go wrong. You pick a team to win, and that’s the primary concern.

        • November 28th 2011 @ 2:06pm
          Vas Venkatramani said | November 28th 2011 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

          What’s the mounting evidence that suggests a team without Ponting is more likely to win than a team with him? Again, it’s fine to stuff the Australian U23 side with young prospects. But when more than 2 or 3 start at the same time, why the hell would you drop a player with 150+ Tests of experience? We’re already missing Watson, why would you reduce the experience gap even further at this stage, especially when the cases of the replacements are moderate at best, and not screaming for selection?

          The cases of Warner, Khawaja and Marsh are nowhere near as strong as what Darren Lehmann, Michael Hussey, Brad Hodge and Phil Jaques had when they were piling runs at state level. What exactly is wrong at telling a David Warner to ply a full season of Shield cricket with NSW, pile on 1000 at an average of 55, and then put him in to the team (when he truly deserves it)?

          Rather, we’d put him in now on a hunch against opponents that would rather bowl to him than to Ponting. Again, an Indian bowler like Varun Aaron or Praveen Kumar would love the idea of facing Australia without Ponting in the lineup.

          • November 28th 2011 @ 2:40pm
            Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

            Since his last test century way bck in January 2010 he’s averaged just under 27. I’d say that’s enough evidence right there. Experience is great but not as important as performance.

            There’s no set amount of runs needed to make the test team you just have to be better then one of the players currently in the team. Marsh, Khawaja and Warner may not be doing as much as Lehmann, Hussey etc were back then but they’re not trying to get into the 2003-05 Australian team but the much weaker 2011 team. They’re certainly doing a lot better then a player averaging under 25 in 2011.

          • November 28th 2011 @ 6:09pm
            zenboomerang said | November 28th 2011 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

            @Vas Venkatramani…

            Your comments lack any confidence in the future growth for Australian cricket… You should read the Argus Report – its all about improving the team & getting back to no.1… Not about going backwards as we have been for years or staying in a rut…

            Ponting will never get back to his 2006/2007 form… The combined form of the Test batsmen is the reason we performed so poorly for the last 4 years at Test level… that and many average bowling performances…

            There are many good young batsmen waiting to get a chance to prove themselves at Test level – Warner, Cowan, Finch, Lynn, Maddinson, Maxwell, Patterson, Christian, Henriques, etc… Even Voges, Hopes & Klinger could put their hands up… It would be easy to select 3 Australian sides with the batsmen we have at the moment…

            • November 28th 2011 @ 7:20pm
              Fisher Price said | November 28th 2011 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

              Hear hear. No room for the sentimentality which is the only reason Ponting hasn’t been dropped.

      • November 28th 2011 @ 1:48pm
        Matt F said | November 28th 2011 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        There’s nothing wrong with looking at ways to improve the side. The team is going OK at the moment, no better but no worse, but is OK enough?

        We’ve had a number of players who haven’t been performing for a long time now e.g. Ponting, Haddin and Johnson. It’s not a big call to say that our results would have been better if we had a batsman averaging over 25 this year instead of Ponting, a fast bowler who averaged below 50 instead of Johnson and a keeper that could keep and also averaging abouve 20 with the bat instead of Haddin (Haddins only averaging 18 with the bat in 2011!!)

        Given our batting line up has collapsed for under 100 4 times over the past 2 years I’m not sure if Ponting’s leadership is helping too much anyway. I’d say a batsman who was in form would be better in that situation then a batsmen out of form.

        What’s this look to the future stuff you keep talking about anyway? Khawaja, Warner, and Marsh have been making runs for a while now. None of those are being picked on potential but based on what they have shown to date. Regardless I’d much rather base decisions on the future then the very distant past. Besides Marsh is 28, Warner 25 and Kawaja will be 25 before Christmas so they’re hardly teenagers.

      • Roar Guru

        November 28th 2011 @ 4:10pm
        Michael Filosi said | November 28th 2011 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

        It is true that once Australia drops Ponting, they can’t very well recall him. I’m curious to know at what point you would consider dropping Ponting if he continues to fail, given that there are options outside the team who are pressing their case? How far would you allow Ponting’s form to taper off before you would consider dropping him?

        • November 28th 2011 @ 6:11pm
          zenboomerang said | November 28th 2011 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          I would say last summer would have been a good time to sack Ponting after the Ashes…

          Seriously, his form is way worse than Norths was when he was dumped… & explain Katichs axing – in form, scoring runs, experienced State captain, with only him, Watson & Hussey doing their jobs last summer…

          Clarkes form has been poor for last 2 years & with Ponting one of the reasons why Australia have struggled to make runs in recent years… We’ve been carrying 2 batsmen & 2 bowlers for 2 years – the stats are there…

          Hughes has been patchy & has serious defensive flaws that have not even been vaguely worked on…

          Warner, Cowan, Finch, Lynn, Maddinson, Maxwell, Patterson, Christian, Henriques spring to mind as useful young replacements along with the experienced Bailey, Klinger, Voges & Hopes…

      • November 28th 2011 @ 7:18pm
        Fisher Price said | November 28th 2011 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

        And where was the leadership during the past two Ashes series, Vas? Or at Newlands or against Pakistan at Headingley?

        Australia has won just 3 of its past 13 Tests to earn the fine achievement of being fourth in the world.

    • November 28th 2011 @ 4:16pm
      Red Kev said | November 28th 2011 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

      All I’ve read this thread is excuses from you Vas. You (like the old selectors) are comforted by the thought of Ponting so you want to hang onto him, the problem is Ponting isn’t the “steady hand” you praise him as, he’s a palsied hand that has lost his touch. He is too intense now-a-days, gets too frustrated when he fails (broken television anyone) and try as hard as he might to contain and ignore it, he will resent the younger players succeeding and being on the rise as he falls and some of that will come out – it is simply psycology.

      http://www.howstat.com/cricket/Statistics/Players/PlayerBatGraph.asp?PlayerID=2041

      That URL is all you need to know. Briefly in 2006, Ponting’s average broke 60 (for the first time since his two half centuries on debut). In 2008 Ponting was still averaging 59. Since then his average has been on a steady and inexorable decline.
      As has been pointed out, his last century came over two years ago in dubious circumstances (dropped on nought by a player found guilty of match-fixing). Before the second innings in Jo’burg his last half-century was an entire year earlier making it the first innings to increase his test average instead of decrease it in 12 months.
      Khawaja, Marsh and Warner are not being picked on potential, they are being picked on their form and their record. All of them are demonstrably better batsmen than Ponting over the last 12-18 months. These batsmen don’t need mentoring. They need seasoning in test cricket, they need teammates who are pulling their weight. Clarke doesn’t need Ponting, he is a far better and more tactically astute captain, what he needs is space the mould the team in his own way – Ponting is one of the last vestiges of the “golden era” team and it’s time for him to go (there’s only room for one of Hussey and Ponting and Mr Cricket has massively out-performed Ricky in the last 12 months).
      injuries have given him the gift of ending his career in Hobart and he should take it.

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