'Ponting is our greatest one-day player'
Cricketer-turned-commentator Dean Jones on Sunday joined the growing list of former Australian players asking for Ricky Ponting's removal as captain, saying the embattled batsman should in fact consider ODI retirement.
In a write-up marking the individual performances of the Australian team, Jones gave Ponting a decent 7 out of 10 but still called for his removal as captain.
"The skipper made a brilliant, tough century in the quarter-final against India, but sadly, it wasn't enough. I believe he has broken his injured finger again and it might be time for him to retire from one-day international cricket," Jones said in The Sydney Morning Herald.
"Ponting is our greatest one-day player and the second-best player to have played for Australia since Donald Bradman. If Cricket Australia wants to take the captaincy off him, that's fine. But let Ponting decide when he wants to pull the plug in one-day and Test cricket. We need hard nuts like 'Punter' and he would love to help the young kids out," he said.
Image: Ricky Ponting
The players who got most praise from Jones were pace spearhead Brett Lee, all-rounder Shane Watson and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin. Jones gave all three of them 8 out of 10.
"An awesome performance and Lee has two years left in him to lead the attack. It is not necessarily how he performs for Australia, but rather what he can offer to the younger quicks in the team," he said.
About Haddin, Jones said, "He is getting better but will the selectors think Haddin will be around in the next World Cup when there is a young Tim Paine around? He is such a great team player, and I believe he still has a lot to offer."
Image: Brett Lee
'Watson is our most reliable player'
For Watson, Jones said the all-rounder needs a break now.
"Made nearly 290 runs and bowled well at times. "Watto" is in imperious form and getting better. Probably needs to have a rest and not go to Bangladesh for the ODI series next month. Watson needs to keep his fitness and still work on his catching in the slips as I don't trust him at first slip yet. He is our most reliable player in all forms," he said.
Image: Shane Watson
'Clarke is our next captain'
The other players who drew praise from Jones were vice-captain Michael Clarke and pacer Mitchell Johnson.
"Clarke is always great in the field and is our next captain, whether the public like it or not. How he can change their minds is to make tough runs in tough circumstances. He is yet to play a knock that has blown us away," he said.
He was critical of the rest of the team especially, all-rounder Cameron White.
"I don't know what type of player he wants to be. Does he want to play Test and ODI cricket, or just be a Twenty20 player? It is time he looked in the mirror and found out for himself," he said.
Image: Michael Clarke