Despite Ashes loss, Ponting unlikely to be removed as skipper, says Roebuck

Monday, August 24, 2009

SYDNEY - Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is unlikely to be evicted, nor is he likely to step aside after becoming only the second skipper from Down Under to lose back-to-back Ashes series in England, feels cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

“This is not the end of Ponting’s captaincy. In another dispensation, his sacking would be inevitable. But he knows that Australian cricket is more likely to back him. It is hard for foreigners to understand the prestige attached to the position. He survived losing the Ashes in 2005,” says Roebuck in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald.

While acknowledging the Australians fighting spirit to stave off inevitable defeat, Roebuck said Ponting was typically defiant, and fought hard to turn back the inexorable tide.

Mike Hussey, he says, chose a fine time to recover his form and displayed the tenacity required to keep his captain company.

“In any case the defeats have been close, the solitary victory was unexpected, several great players have withdrawn and the captain’s overall record remains impressive. Moreover it has been an especially tough tour. Australia have lost four out of five tosses, the last of them crucial, two senior bowlers arrived with hardly any overs under their bonnet and the tyro opener and leading bowler started badly, a combination that caused untold complications. As well, England seemed to have combed the cricketing world to raise a side,” Roebuck said.

In his opinion, Australia kept picking the wrong side.

“Nathan Hauritz’s omission at The Oval was a culpable blunder made by a think tank given the chance to examine a pitch allowed to bake under a hot sun for several days. Australia also need to put its bowling resources to better use,” he says.

“It is rare for an Australian captain to be allowed to keep playing once he has stood down. Other countries may field several former captains in their line-ups but that is not the antipodean way. Ponting knows that resignation and retirement are closely intertwined,” he concludes. (ANI)

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