All you “Pirates” fans will know what I mean. Many, many people were saying of Ponting on the first two days of the Test, “He’s the worst captain I’ve ever seen.” Lo and behold, less than two days later those same people were heard claiming, “He’s the best captain I’ve ever seen.”
If choices are vindicated by results, Ponting is in the clear. I imagine it was a very smug Ponting that entered the post-match press conference.
But speaking of transitions, let me mention Brad Haddin. I had my first extended look at Haddin on the Ashes tour and I could not believe my eyes. He was the worse keeper I had ever seen. I was incredulous at the lack of foot work and iron gloves. He seemed to spill a regulation take every few overs. But look at him this summer. He looks a million bucks. Yesterday, I’d go as far as to say he is the best keeper I’ve ever seen.
Of course, the mantle of worst keeper has been arrested by Kamran Akmal. If there is not an enquiry into the man who single handedly lost the Test, something is wrong.
At the post-match interviews, both the radio and TV, Ponting said something that intrigued me. When asked about the decision to bat, he said that the rationale is that you will score more in your first innings than they will in the fourth. I didn’t publish last night because I felt I needed more time to think about this profound statement.
Having spent a sleepless night trying to make sense of it, I’m sticking with my initial reaction. It is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Aside from fact that in this case it was not true, and that bar one partnership and a hot session of fielding, Australia did everything they could to lose the match, in the end, it was Panikistan who handed the match to Australia.
Who thinks up these ridiculous theories? I’ll guarantee it’s not the players. I wouldn’t mind betting it was that fool coach, no doubt justifying his position by thinking up some new angle.
Good for Ponting and the Aussies. It was an exciting match and turn arounds like that are one of the key reasons that Test cricket will remain superior to all other forms. However, I suggest it would be wrong for Ponting and the selectors to lulled into thinking that this crop of players is invincible.
PS: Per last post, my reckoning is that aside from the 4th Test of Ashes 2009, the last time Australia won a Test having fielded first was more than three years ago. It was the Ashes Test in Sydney, Jan 2007.