Mitchell Johnson’s sacking not my call, says Ponting
SYDNEY: AUSTRALIAN captain Ricky Ponting is at loggerheads with chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch over the sacking of paceman Mitchell Johnson.
Ponting gave every indication yesterday he opposed the decision to dump Johnson from the second Vodafone Ashes Test.
Doug Bollinger is in the Australian XI, with Ryan Harris tipped to replace Ben Hilfenhaus when the team is named this morning.
Asked why Johnson failed to receive the kind of backing from selectors that had been shown to Australia's struggling middle-order batsmen, Ponting replied: "Good question, you might have to ask Andrew Hilditch that."
Hilditch rejected all interview requests.
Ponting and coach Tim Nielsen were consulted by selectors before Johnson was dumped. Bizarrely, on Wednesday night, nearly 12 hours after Johnson had been told of his sacking, selector Greg Chappell said he knew nothing about the decision.
Cricket Australia explained yesterday that Chappell had not checked his voice messages because he was at the movies.
"I'm not a selector," Ponting said. "We have four selectors of which I am not one. The coach is not one.
"When it comes to big decisions like this one, they are wholly and solely made by the selection panel.
"Of course they ask for my input and the coach's input, but at the end of the day they are the ones who make the decision." Did Ponting agree with the selectors? "Sometimes it doesn't matter what I think," he said.
"The selectors felt (Johnson) was down on a bit of form and down on a bit of rhythm. That was probably highlighted in the last game.
"Test match cricket is hard enough without having to find things in the middle of a Test. He's got time before the Perth Test to hopefully rediscover some of that rhythm.
"We've all spoken to him a lot. It's always tough when you're left out of a Test team. I've been there a few times myself. -Afp