Mitchell John­son’s sack­ing not my call, says Ponting

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

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

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