Calls for Ponting's head grow
Australia captain Ricky Ponting insists he is the right man to lead the team for Ashes despite critics calling for his head after the Test series debacle in India.
Australia suffered its third successive Test defeat after losing the series 0-2 against India.
First it was spin legend Shane Warne who questioned Ponting's captaincy; now former pacer Geoff Lawson has urged the Australian selectors to strip Ponting of the top job.
Lawson, who also coached Pakistan, said Australia should follow India's example of letting Sachin Tendukar focus on batting rather than burden him with captaincy.
Image: Geoff Lawson
'Clarke can be captain; Ponting can focus on batting'
Lawson strongly feels that it's time that Michael Clarke be given the reins of the team.
"I mean he's now lost five series, it may be time to say, 'Look mate, we've got Michael Clarke ready to go with a nice fresh young mind. He can be the captain and you focus on your batting and try to restore yourself to the level we know you're capable'," Lawson said.
"Ricky's still batting reasonably -- he got two scores of 70 in [the last] Test match. The difference is that Tendulkar got a couple of hundreds and then backed it up with a 50-odd not out, and obviously he can focus on those big scores [without the burden of being skipper].
"You've got to look at the way Ponting is batting and think, 'Mentally, he can't concentrate for long enough'," Lawson told ABC Radio.
Lawson's comments came after Warne blasted Ponting's field placements on his Twitter page.
Image: Michael Clarke
'I'm still learning about my own game and captaincy'
However, asked if he is the right man to captain Australia this summer, Ponting replied, "Absolutely, I've got no doubt about that at all."
Ponting, who arrived in Sydney on Friday after India's tour, said he can's do much if his captaincy is under fire, but was disappointed that he could not cash in on the good starts he got in the Test series.
"I was back on top of my game in India after a reasonably lean 12 months. I was disappointed not to have capitalised on some of the great starts.
"I'm still learning about my own game and captaincy, and if the rest of the players learned a bit from the last trip, it should hold us in good stead for the Ashes.
Image: Ricky Ponting
'I'll continue to give my absolute best'
'I'll continue to give my absolute best as I always have since I've been Australian captain. If I get criticised for that along the way, there's nothing I can do about it," Ponting said.
Talking about Warne's criticism, he said the matter has been sorted out.
"I'm not hiding the fact I was bit disappointed with the tweets I read, but we've exchanged texts the past 24 hours. I wouldn't say he apologised, but he got his points across and I got my points across," Ponting said.
Image: Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting