martes, 28 de diciembre de 2010

Ponting's sad and tatty end - TVNZ

A music critic famously wrote of the Beatles' final album `Let It Be' that it was a cheapskate epitaph, a cardboard tombstone, a sad and tatty end.

If a series of Ashes humiliation does signal the end for Ricky Ponting as a Test captain, his final bow has been much the same.

His team is shot. So is his form - just 113 runs at an average of 16.1 in the four Tests so far.

Ponting, 36, spent as long arguing with an umpire on day two of the fourth Test as he has at the crease in some innings this series.

His temper cost him 40 per cent of his match fee and hurt his carefully sculpted reputation.

Calls for his head - both as player and captain - won't go away after more misery for Ponting and his country at the MCG on Tuesday.

To think of frogmarching a player who has averaged over 50 throughout an illustrious Test career, the second highest runscorer in Test history, when he is playing through the pain barrier with a fractured finger does seem harsh.

Ponting has scrapped so brilliantly throughout his career it's surprising he hasn't got a grapple crane on one arm and a wrecking ball on the other.

Until now. The mind is willing. The machinery is malfunctioning.

As Shane Watson skewered Phil Hughes' innings with a silly run-out to break Australia's opening partnership, Ponting had the opportunity to do something great.

He survived a nervy start, clawed his way unconvincingly to 20. Then he was gone.

Whether that's for good or not will become the burning question as Australia sifts through the wreckage of this series in coming days.

Australian captains have survived form pressure before.

Greg Chappell's horrible run of ducks in 1981-82.

Mark Taylor's courageous 129 at Edgbaston on the 1997 Ashes tour - his first score beyond 50 for 18 months.

Steve Waugh's career-saving century at the SCG in the last match of the 2002-03 Ashes series.

The bad news for Ponting is that none of those sides were performing anywhere near as badly as the current unit.

Nothing lasts forever in sport, including players and their powers.

Ageing is irreversible, and so is its effect on the faculties.

Ponting has always done his best for his country.

He and Australian cricket have some hard thinking to do as to whether that remains good enough for the rebuilding that must lie ahead.

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