Pressure grows on Ricky Ponting

He can’t seem to keep out of the news over the last seven days, it has been a strange time of late for Ricky Ponting. The list of issues surrounding the Aussie skipper seems to be getting longer by the days.

The week started well at Edgbaston last Friday when he became Australia’s all time leading run scorer, ironically he got a standing ovation from the Edgbaston crowd for this achievement. The fact that he got to Border’s record in 134 tests, 22 less than Border took seems to have been overlooked since and replaced with the – more important – booing debate.

All this week there has been an oungoing debate into the continued booing of Ponting since his criticism of England’s tactics in the final hour of the Cardiff test. The – what I believe to be mainly pantomine booing – seems to have followed him around since that 1st test with Giles Clarke now getting involved, Clarke has asked the crowd at Headingley to respect Ponting.

If the fact that Ponting’s team are still 1-0 down with only 2 to play isn’t getting to him yet, the latest news that anything other than winning the series 2-1 from here means they will lose their No1 test ranking to South Africa might do.

I don’t for a minute think Ponting is that concerned with the rankings, at the moment as all he is interested in is winning the series, if he manages that the rankings will take care of its self.

Australia have only won 5 of their past 14 tests and to return home with that record not improved upon, without the Ashes and possibly as low as No4 in the rankings would be a disaster for Ponting’s captaincy which has been under scrutiny from press and former players for a while now.

He has had plenty of team issues to handle with the form of Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson a major concern, over the last 15-20 years there can’t be too many previous captains that had concerns over so many players form, any player who wasn’t performing in the past could be carried for so long and then if things didn’t pick up there was always a top quality player waiting to come in. Injuries to Brad Haddin and Brett Lee also haven’t helped either.

In picking Shane Watson to open he took a massive gamble with his reputation as a captain prompting criticle words from recent team mates Michael Slater and Matthew Hayden. The decision to drop Hughes for Watson looked a massive risk to me and but for England’s woeful spell with the ball on the Thursday night session at Edgbaston getting Watson off to a flyer, it could have been a disaster for Ponting.

It now has also emerged that Ponting could be the first Australian captain in 100 years to lose two Ashes series in England, an accolade he could well do without taking back to Australia with him or there might well be a lot more than just a small section of the English crowd that boo him in the immeadiate future!