Ricky Ponting must go on de­fen­sive to save Ashes

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

SYD­NEY: From what we have seen so far it is clear this will be Ricky Ponting's last se­ries. He is the right man to carry on un­til it fin­ishes but he has to lead by scor­ing a gal­lon of runs.

He is play­ing all right but it is a big chal­lenge to see if he can get the team play­ing well again. As a cap­tain you can make an av­er­age team bet­ter through your tac­tics and man­age­ment. You can make in­dif­fer­ent bowlers look bet­ter by giv­ing them more plans and work­ing out a sys­tem.

Ponting is not do­ing that at the moment and I won­der if it is be­cause he is so used to be­ing an ag­gres­sive cap­tain for so long be­cause he had such great play­ers at his dis­posal.

Now he has to adopt a dif­fer­ent style, per­haps a lit­tle like the way Nasser Hus­sain got Eng­land to play - make it dif­fi­cult for the op­po­si­tion to get a score and try to force wick­ets by bowl­ing con­sis­tently and pa­tiently and not think you are go­ing to blast the op­po­si­tion out. He needs to set fields that make it hard for Eng­land to score runs. Not hav­ing a mid­wicket to Kevin Pietersen at any stage, like he did in Ade­laide, is crim­i­nal.

You have al­ways got to try to force KP to hit through the off side, even against spin­ners. But the Aus­tralian think-tank does not ap­pear to be work­ing clearly.

What plans they have had have been aban­doned within a cou­ple of overs. It is mud­dled think­ing from one team while an­other, Eng­land, ploughs on with a clar­ity of pur­pose that will win them the Ashes.

If you look at Aus­tralia's Test side you can tell they are think­ing about their in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances rather than the team. You can see play­ers are look­ing over their shoul­der and not play­ing as a col­lec­tive unit.

Eng­land won a Test here with­out luck. It was down to pure skill but I look at Aus­tralia and think they will need an el­e­ment of luck to beat us. -Ap

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