Selector Hilditch says Ponting’’s leadership of Oz squad is `inspirational

March 16th, 2009 - 1:33 pm ICT by ANI  

Cape Town, Mar.16 (ANI): Australias chief selector Andrew Hilditch has lauded Ricky Ponting’’s “inspirational” leadership.
There was time when Ponting was roundly criticized after a 2-1 Test series belting at home by Graeme Smith’’s Proteas.
Now, fortunes have changed. Australia heads into the third and final Test of the return series at Cape Town with a 2-0 lead.
There’’s even talk of a “Ponting legacy” to rival his predecessors as captain.
“I have always found Ricky to be an inspirational captain,” said Hilditch of Ponting, who has successfully ushered opener Phillip Hughes, batsman Marcus North and swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus into his side.
“We have been well served since Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh. They have all been really good captains, all slightly different.
“Ricky’’s real strength has been his ability to lead men. He is respected by them at all times and well liked by them, which is not an easy combination.
“Ricky is seeing a real purpose to his role to develop these young players.”
A quiet moment of reflection with Test keeper Brad Haddin after victory in the New Year’’s Sydney Test convinced Hilditch there was something special brewing.
“I must admit it was interesting when I saw Brad Haddin after that Test match. He just turned to me and said, ”We will beat them in South Africa”,” Hilditch said.
“Even when things weren”t going well around the group, it was amazing how optimistic they were. I think the reality is with a younger group around you it does rejuvenate everybody,” the Herald Sun quoted him, as saying.
Hilditch knows Ponting’’s side will not ease up in the dead-rubber Test at Newlands, starting on Thursday.
“Certainly within the player group the Sydney win had obviously added a lot of confidence,” Hilditch said.
“I think every Test is important. The reality is it is such an even series anybody can win any game against these two teams.”
The quest now is to form a combination for Ashes success and beyond. (ANI)

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