'Every captain sooner or later reaches the end of his tether' — Peter Roebuck
Another Ashes defeat looms large over Australia and more importantly Ricky Ponting. He seems to have lost his focus, his game, his mates and is certain to lose his captaincy after the series. The distinguish player is heading for his third Ashes defeat as captain.
Ponting started the Ashes series with a score of 10 and 51 in Brisbane which ended in a draw. In Adelaide, the Australian skipper managed a duck and 9 runs which the hosts lost by an innings and 71 runs. Though Australia came back strongly in Perth to register a 267-run win, Ponting got 12 in the first innings and 1 in the second essay.
The Boxing Day Test has been another trouble-filled game for Ponting. It started with him losing the toss; then the team was bowled out for 98 and if that was not enough, Ricky was fined 40 per cent of his match fee by ICC for a prolonged argument with Aleem Dar over a disputed referral. [An aside: here's Alan Tyers' hilarious take on the argument]
And yes, he has further infuriated his predecessor with a score of 10 and 20 in Melbourne - which Australia are in danger of losing it big time.
As the host team continued its struggle in the fourth Ashes Test against England, Australians called out loud for a confused and clueless Ponting's head.
My mailbox is filled with all kind of stories varying from; 'Pressure on Ponting to rescue Australia', 'Big decisions to come on Ponting's future', 'Calls for Ponting's head after Ashes blast', among many others.
It's not only my mailbox which is at the receiving end. Among all Ponting-haters there are ex-Australian players breathing furiously down his neck.
Former player Ian Chappell blasted Ricky and said that the skipper should have been suspended over the ugly on-field argument with umpire. "When I was playing it was quite clear in the laws you could discuss a point of law but you weren't allowed to argue a point of judgment. And it's not like it's the first time he (Ponting) has done it," Ian added.
Former Australia captain Mark Taylor said players should draw a line with umpires. "The decision came from upstairs. There's no point arguing with the umpires. They're just relaying the message," Taylor said.
"He took the matter too far. It is not right for any captain, let alone an international leader, to challenge a decision so publicly and persistently," Peter Roebuck wrote.
BTW, it was the fifth time that Ricky Ponting was fined for dissent since he became the captain of Australia in 2004. Ricky, staring down a barrel, has a massive repair work to do or is destined for a swift removal.