Ponting faces flak for his excuses for slow-over rate in India

November 25th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Nov 25 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting is once again under heavy fire for being unable to maintain over rates in the first Test against New Zealand.Ponting, who has a history of falling short of stipulated overs in Test matches, was at the receiving end for being three overs behind at Brisbane. Ponting was fined 30 per cent of his match fee and his players 15 per cent each.

Ponting faced a similar problem in India but shifted the blame squarely on the batsmen and ground conditions.

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said statistics show that Ponting’s excuses in India were hollow.

“That is a smokescreen. In a number of other series in different countries, Australia’s over-rates have been even worse than they were in India,” Chappell was quoted as saying in The Australian.

“The art of placing a field has not varied much from when Dennis Lillee was Australia’s chief strike bowler, and Ashley Mallett the leading off-spinner.”

“It’s difficult to understand why Ponting needs to engage in long, drawn-out conversations with his bowlers, which is the main cause of Australia’s slow over-rate.”

Cricket Australia (CA) issued a stern message to Ponting.

“The Australian team clearly needs to look into the reasons why it has not, in recent times, been on top of its game in regard to over rates. The rules and regulations are very clear and we are falling behind, which is not good enough,” CA chief executive James Sutherland said.

A quick look will reveal that Australian team under Ponting have always dawdled through its overs.

Ponting-led teams have never averaged more than the minimum of 15 overs per hour in any series since he took over from Steve Waugh for the series in Sri Lanka in 2003-04.

The best over-rate Ponting’s team has averaged in any Test series is 14.74 per hour against Sri Lanka in Australia in 2004.

That is still short of the mark of 15 overs an hour set down by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Australia’s slowest over-rate in any series under Ponting was 12.78 per hour against the West Indies in the Caribbean this year — while the Indian tour last month (13.38) was the third worst.

As captain, Ponting is faring far worse with his over-rate dilemmas than his predecessors Waugh, Mark Taylor and Allan Border.

“If a captain follows a few simple rules, he won’t go far wrong. He should aim to place as many fielders in the region where a catch is most likely to go, and ensure taking wickets is his main objective.

“Saving singles is the next priority, with boundaries running a distant third. But saving boundaries ranks too high on Ponting’s priority scale.”

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