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Why Ponting should step down as Australian captain

Submitted by rickeyre on August 29, 2009 - 6:01pm

If Cricket Australia was a failed Wall Street investment bank, then Ricky Ponting, Andrew Hilditch et al would probably be receiving huge bonuses right now. You know, the kind of performance-based bonuses that are paid out regardless of performance.

The selectors (are they still being called the NSP?) are spruiking the success of the Ashes series, which finished up Australia 1 England 2. Perhaps it would have been best for the NSPistas to exercise the right to remain silent. Andrew Hilditch: "As far as the selection processes are concerned, we had a really good Ashes, generally speaking". Jamie Cox, accepting that Nathan Hauritz should have played at The Oval: "Our Ashes, up until that one very well-defined moment, went very well for us."

I've seen no comment from Merv and Boonie. Let it stay that way. Their heads might be safer than those of the Test-Captain-who-never-was, AMJ Hilditch, and the Test-Opener-that-never-was, J Cox.

Ricky Ponting and Clive Lloyd are the only two captains to win two ICC World Cups. That's an enormous achievement to take into the annals of history. And, for the fifty-overs game, that's well and good. His performance at the Test game, however, is such that the time to resign or be resigned has arrived. For Ricky Ponting and Bill Murdoch are the only two Australian Test captains since 1890 to have lost the Ashes in England twice.

Ponting, as Australian captain, has presided over a drop from first place on the ICC rankings to fourth. The decline, and Ponting's captaincy, began well before the retirements of Hayden, Langer, Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist.

As well as being a double loser of the Ashes, Ponting lost a home series to South Africa last summer, and lost a series in India in 2008 after Australia had completed an unprecedented series win on India in 2004 (when Adam Gilchrist was captain while Ponting was injured).

Quite simply, Performance dictates dismissal. Ponting's performance as Test captain in recent years dictates that. The only real argument against Ponting's removal as captain would be the TINA factor - There Is No Alternative. However, there is an alternative, an able, intelligent, mature one by the name of Michael Clarke.

Ponting ranks alongside Greg Chappell as the best Australian batsmen in my lifetime. As long as he remains fit, there is no reason why Ponting cannot return to England for the 2013 Ashes and rack up fourteen or fifteen thousand runs in his Test career. But not as captain.