Ponting should be given time to think about his future
Instead of panicking and making knee-jerk changes after losing the Ashes to England, spin legend Shane Warne feels Australia should accept that it is no longer the top Test side it used to be and needs a "long period of reflection".
"...where do Australia go from here? First of all, don't panic. Now is not the time to make the serious changes and I would like to see the same side play in Sydney, apart from a spinner coming into the team for Ryan Harris," Warne wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph after Australia's loss in the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne that has helped England retain the coveted urn.
"The next Test series is not until August, when we play Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. That is the time to make rational judgment calls," he suggested.
Warne said embattled skipper Ricky Ponting should be given time to think about his future.
"This way it gives Ricky Ponting six months to think about what he wants to do next, and he and the selectors have to work out what is the best thing for Australian cricket and not individuals," he said.
Image: Ricky Ponting
'All the other countries have now caught up'
Warne said the key to rebuilding the team, which currently lies fifth in ICC rankings, lies in accepting that its aura is gone at least for now.
"Australia have performed poorly over the past couple of years and the authorities have to look at the top all the way down and work out what they need to do better.
"Everyone is saying England are brilliantly prepared but that is what Australia were like for 15 or 20 years -- so much better than everyone else," he said.
"All the other countries have now caught up. When you are the best you have to train as if you are No 2 to keep everyone at bay.
"Australia are now No 5 in the world and they have to go back to the drawing board. They have to work out how they can be No 1 again because at the moment we are going backwards," he added.
Image: England players celebrate after winning the Ashes Test match in Melbourne
'We need to be honest, we need to address it and move forward'
Warne said international teams have caught up with the Aussies simply copying the cricket structure Down Under.
"Now everyone does what we did but are doing it better. It has taken this Ashes series for it to come to a head. We can't continue beating ordinary opposition but lose as soon as we come up against the stronger teams," he explained.
"This is the first time we have not won an Ashes series at home for 24 years and it is time for us to say, 'right, we are not one of the best sides in the world any more'. We need to be honest, we need to address it and move forward.
"Australia can't hide away and just say England were too good. It is not just one series. This has been happening for a period of time. Now South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and England have put a gap between them and the rest - Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand," he added.
Image: Shane Warne
'Australian cricket needs a long period of reflection'
Warne said analysing the shortcomings in the team would take a long time.
"Australian cricket needs a long period of reflection and must produce a model of how they can get back to No 1 in the world. They need to ask if there is anyone who can replace the players in the team and can play for the next five years," he said.
The Australian public still think they have the world's No 1 team. They have got to realise we are now No 5. There are fundamental questions to settle in the team. We have no leader of the attack, we need an opener and a spinner," he added.
Image: Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer