Wal­ters calls for cap­tain’s ax­ing af­ter lat­est tantrum Ponting’s got to go

Townsville Bulletin - - Game On -

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.

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