As Ricky Ponting embarrassed himself with his lengthy, finger-pointing dissension involving umpire Aleem Dar, you were struck that this Ashes series represents the collapse of a sporting dynasty rather than another bump in the road for Australian cricket.
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald
Ponting was as shabby as his lovely old baggy green cap, displaying pointlessly overwrought emotion as a clinical English side of mainly workmanlike professionals ruthlessly smashed his woeful Australians at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Ponting lost the plot and – surprise, surprise – the International Cricket Council failed to hammer home a telling message when credibility was at stake.
Even if Ponting had evidence to dispute the umpiring unit’s decision to give the English batsman Kevin Pietersen not out, he had no right to hold up the Melbourne test for eight minutes as he remonstrated with Pakistan’s Dar and then Kiwi umpire Tony Hill. Eight minutes … that is nothing short of an insult, even if Ponting didn’t actually issue insults. His alleged remorse should not have spared him a stiffer penalty than a fine.
That the third umpire’s video forensics established that Pietersen had not nicked the ball made the sorry saga laughable. Technology in this area is fool-proof, even though Ponting managed to give brief lie to that theory.
Ponting was fined but the ICC should have suspended him. Such lengthy dissent amounted to a hijacking of the game. Inzamam ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, was suspended for leading his team in a refusal to play. Ponting should have got the same response for bringing the game into disrepute.
Inevitably, the wash-up has included claims that Ponting is a captain under pressure who cracked.
Where once he could throw the ball gleefully to Glenn McGrath or Shane Warne, Ponting probably feels more inclined to hide the cherry from Ben Hilfenhaus and Steve Smith.
Rather than ease back into a chair as he could when Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden were padding up, the Aussie No3 might go searching for a prayer mat as Shane Watson and especially Phillip “Who” Hughes prepare to bat.
The new Australian players are so bad that the Shane Warne comeback brigade could have dug deeper and included Steve Waugh and Allan Border in their calls.
Such is the decline that you have to assume the new dawn of limited over skills and riches has led to a setting sun on Australian cricket genius and dominance.
Age of celebrity
Then there is the case of Michael Clarke, who quit on his teammates in New Zealand over a barney with his high-profile (and maintenance) girlfriend. The age of celebrity has helped tear down the gates to what was an impregnable Australian castle.
But none of this is an excuse for the disgraceful sight of a man many of us have admired, even revered, for his batting acting like a spoilt brat by arguing on and on about the Pietersen decision.
Ponting later said he would be upset if his actions were seen as an act of disrespect towards the umpires, which is exactly what they were. As for Dar, he was too accommodating.
Twenty20 root of all evil – like moneyT
There is the prospect that Ponting’s captaincy will end in a shambles, which is just about the state of world cricket as the Twenty20 revolution – which is actually a euphemism for money – threatens to destroy the sport. The root of all evil, for sure.
There were claims before this test that Australia had rebounded in Perth through sledging, which in turn reflected a renewed confidence.
Intimidation might work when you are good enough to back up the trash-talk, but this Australian team isn’t and their techniques and resolve are as un-Australian as a knotted handkerchief hat at Bondi beach.
English over-confidence was the chief contributor to Australia’s third test victory. Australia needed strong and strategic leadership in this Ashes series, not the clutching at non-existent straws.
In contrast, England’s limping batting hero, Jonathan Trott – his shirt out in the manner of a barber’s coat – treated the Australians with an air of disinterest. Skill, preparation and confidence beats breast-beating. England have been superb.
Ponting was pathetic.
The wounds he and his team are enduring match those Australia inflicted upon opponents for many years. So captaining Australia has become a tough job. Welcome to our world, punter.
You should try captaining Bangladesh or once-marvellous Pakistan, who can’t play at home and probably never will again.
If Ponting wants to discuss life without an opening partnership, give Daniel Vettori a ring.
There has been so much to admire and enjoy when watching Australian cricket. But while witnessing this blatant Aussie arrogance – Ponting still claims that Pietersen edged the ball – getting put to the sword has been a delight.
Teams around the world have copped it from Australia without taking their frustrations out on umpires and holding up matches.
So suck it up, Ponting, and dig deep for dignity.
Geez, those TV commentators have been very positive about Australia’s situation considering the way England have been destroying them at the MCG. This test series would have been much more enjoyable if a straight-talking English commentator – such as Geoffrey Boycott or my own personal favourite, Nasser Hussain – had been on the job.