There aren't any replacements for Ricky: Charlesworth
Ricky Ponting has remained Australia captain despite being well past his use by date because the team simply does not have the replacement for him, says celebrated hockey coach Ric Charlesworth who refused the offer to coach the cricket team at one stage.
"I would say that the reason Ricky's still the captain is because there isn't anyone who obviously can do it," Charlesworth told The Sun-Herald.
Charlesworth's comments have come in the wake of mounting criticism of Ponting's captaincy after Australia's ouster from the World Cup following the quarter-final loss to India.
"In any good team there ought to be a critical mass of leaders. We probably haven't got enough leaders in the current team. Michael Clarke is possibly one, though we're not really convinced about him. Brad Haddin is perhaps another.
"Mike Hussey is a leader in his own way. But there's not the same quality of leadership in the team as there was five years ago," he added.
Charlesworth said given the scenario, Ponting remains Australia's best option for captaincy.
"Ricky is still the best batsman in the country. I think he's got a couple more years in him, but it would be very productive for him if he could just concentrate on his own cricket, as Tendulkar is doing," he said.
"They held on to Tubby (Mark Taylor) for three years too long because there was no obvious replacement. Tubby was a very good captain, the best in recent times, but he played longer than he should have. And that's when they had Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist, a whole bunch around who had the character to do it," he pointed out.
The 59-year-old also recalled the time he refused to coach Australia.
"I was approached before John Buchanan took over. But I had a job at the time and it's the same now. I'm contracted (to the Kookaburras) until the London Olympics. Coaching the cricket team is a very draining job now.
"It's become too big a job for one person. I think the long and short games should be separated. The present structure doesn't allow the coach to think strategically. He's just managing details," he said.
Image: Ricky Ponting leads the Australian team out of the field after their loss to India
Photographs: Getty Images
Chappell, Warne call for change in Oz team
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell on Saturday asked skipper Ricky Ponting to step down from the post and called for immediate changes in the team to arrest the continuing slide which has been highlighted by the quarter-final exit from the World Cup.
The three-time defending champions crashed out of the event with a five-wicket loss against India despite Ponting striking an inspiring hundred after being out of form for months.
Chappell said it is the right time for Ponting to step down. "It is time," he was quoted as saying by The Australian.
"I have said all along that this summer was it for Ricky Ponting as a captain, I felt that the end of the Ashes was the right time for him to end his Test captaincy and they were quite right to let him have the opportunity to defend his title at the World Cup -- he has won two on the trot.
"But, now it's time, if you are going to have a new team there is not much point having the same captain," he added.
Chappell said for the team to reclaim the form that made it intimidating in the past two decades, changes will have to be made.
"It is time to do some rebuilding, you are a looking at a four-year cycle. There are some good young cricketers out there and this could well be just the opportunity they are looking for to get a chance. I think it is time for proper rebuilding."
Spin legend Shane Warne also called for changes in the team but said Ponting should be allowed to decide whether he wants to stay on or quit.
"Whatever decision is made, either way, let Ricky decide. He will have Australian cricket's interest in mind in his decision-making process," Warne said.
Image: Ricky Ponting