Walters calls for captain’s axing after latest tantrum Ponting’s got to go
TEST legend Doug Walters says Ricky Ponting is at breaking point and must be axed as skipper after the World Cup in the wake of his second World Cup meltdown in 23 days.
Test cricket’s most successful captain was under attack yesterday, with fans and leading greats condemning Ponting as petulant for hurling the ball in anger after colliding with rookie Steve Smith during Australia’s s e v e n - w i c k e t d e f e a t o f Canada.
It is the latest incident at this World Cup to engulf Ponting, who was reprimanded by the ICC three weeks ago for accidentally damaging a dressing-room television after being run out against Zimbabwe.
Ponting publicly apologised after the match for his reaction towards Smith — but Walters says the outburst is evidence Australia’s leading Test runscorer is cracking under the demands of the captaincy and his own form struggles.
" There’s only one solution to this — it’s time for Ricky to be dropped as captain," Walters said yesterday.
" I hope Ricky lets someone else take over after the World Cup.
" He’s a frustrated that’s obvious.
" I think he is a wonderful batsman but the pressure of the job is getting to him, little things are starting to upset him and when that happens you either get out of the kitchen ( as captain) or quit cricket completely. I don’t think Ricky is a great captain but he is a great batsman and I don’t want to see him lost to cricket. He’s got a lot to offer with the bat, he’s got a lot more runs in him if the captaincy is taken off him and given to Michael Clarke."
Smith, 21, looked visibly stunned after colliding with
man, Ponting, who had called for a c a t c h w h e n C a n a d a tailender Harvir Baidwan ( 17) skied a delivery from Jason Krejza to the skipper at mid-off in the 42nd over.
Despite the warning, Smith continued his pursuit from mid-on and nearly cleaned up Ponting as he completed the catch — prompting the captain to throw the ball into the ground in disgust.
While his teammates celebrated the wicket, a seething Ponting retreated to mido f f a n d d r o p p e d t o h i s haunches. Veteran batsman Michael Hussey later attempted to calm the skipper.
As Australia prepare for t heir f i nal group match against Pakistan tomorrow in Colombo, Ponting admitted his dummy spit wasn’t a good look.
" It wasn’t a great reaction I guess," he said. " But it certainly wasn’t designed . . . to make Steven look in any way in the wrong place or make him look silly.
" I had a chat to Smithy about it. We both actually called for it at exactly the same time, which was why there was some confusion around. If anything I was probably more disappointed that a few of the other guys didn’t sort of yell out and make it clear that it was my catch. It was just a reaction that happened when it did. If it looked bad then I apologise for it."
Former Test captain Ian Chappell pilloried Ponting for losing control against the cricketing minnows.
" You don’t want to see that f r o m t h e c a p t a i n , " s a i d Chappell, who was comment at i ng on t he match on Indian television.
" You can’t afford to let your emotions get up too high or too low as a captain."
The incident was another forgettable moment in a disappointing summer for Ponting.