Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ponting: I Am Still Man to Lead Aussies; Australia Captain Adamant He Can Change Fortunes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ponting: I Am Still Man to Lead Aussies; Australia Captain Adamant He Can Change Fortunes

Article excerpt

RICKY Ponting is adamant he remains the best man to lead Australia's Ashes bid despite overseeing the team's worst losing streak in 22 years.

A defiant Ponting returned to Sydney yesterday a day after watching India take the Border-Gavaskar series 2-0 amid heavy criticism from former team-mate Shane Warne and ex-Australia paceman Geoff Lawson.

Warne questioned Ponting's field settings to beleaguered off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, while Lawson called for the skipper to hand the leadership to Michael Clarke for the Ashes series.

The Australians' world ranking has slipped to five after three consecutive Test losses - their worst run since 1988.

Asked if he was still the right man for the job, Ponting replied firmly: "Absolutely - I've got no doubt about that at all. I will give my absolute best as I always have since I've been the Australian captain... to be the best leader I can be and the best player I can be.

"I'm trying to do the best I can as captain to help some of these guys through some difficult times.

"If I get criticised along the way, I can't do anything about that."

Ponting admitted to being concerned at Australia's slide down the Test rankings, with Ashes holders England now above them.

"We were always very proud of the fact we were the number one-ranked team in Test cricket and one-day cricket for such a long period of time," Ponting said.

"Our Test form has not been as you would have liked.

"It's bad - no one's proud of the fact we've lost three Test matches in a row.

"But I've got great confidence in all the players that will represent Australia this year." One of those players, the oft-maligned Hauritz, found himself caught in the middle of a storm on day five of the second Test in India after Warne went on Twitter to criticise Ponting's field placings.

The former leg-spinner asked how Hauritz was supposed to bowl to the fields his captain was supposedly setting, criticising Ponting's negative tactics.

The skipper later explained Hauritz had set his own fields and revealed he had aired his grievances with Warne. …

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