In Cricket, being the Captain of a side brings the responsibilities of what a manager would in other sports. The formations, decisions and selections all add to the fact that they also have to play, and play well.
Ricky Ponting has quickly come into a storm of criticism after England, somewhat comfortably, won the Ashe’s in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
But where was this criticism when the Aussies whitewashed England in 2007. This is the clearest indicator of Ponting’s captaining ability not losing matches but the players that have changed around him are.
When you don’t have the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee to call on it becomes a much harder task, and with Mitchell Johnson bowling whatever way the ball decides to fly out of his hand, it is made even harder. All of his experience couldn’t counter the inexperience of the Australian players.
The England team has become a lot stronger over the past few years as the Australians has weakened, the fact that the team has weakened can not be stressed enough. Ponting clearly has the same tactical awareness as he did back in 2007 but he doesn’t have the same players to carry out his plans efficiently.
Browsing the stats it is the older players who top the rankings with the youngster’s way adrift. Both Shane Watson and Michael Hussey tried their best to make the Captain look like he still had it, but their back up made it look as if Ponting has lost his touch.
He has lost the likes of Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist to get the runs and the team put out to win the 2010 Ashes was almost unrecognisable.
In a slightly fortuitous way, Ponting injured his finger putting him out of the last two tests which may have been a blessing in disguise.
As Vice-Captain Michael Clarke was given the almost impossible task of getting the team to win, he faired no better than his predecessor.
Pride has a thing about getting in the way of judgement. The fact England has become a better and more consistent side in all forms of the game is a pill too bitter to swallow for Aussie fans. So the quick and easy way to deny it, despite its objectivity, is to place blame on the leader.
They can’t change the players because that is all they have got. But because losing is becoming more common than not, the Captain becomes an easy target.
Cricket is a team sport, so maybe it is time to look at the team and not the individual. Go back to the basics, swallow your pride and remember the phrase ‘There is no I in team.’